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April 15, 2014

Game of Thrones breaks record for simultaneous file-sharing

The George RR Martin adaptation bolsters reputation for setting piracy landmarks.

By Jimmy Nicholls

An episode of Game of Thrones yesterday broke the record for the simultaneous file sharing via BitTorrent, in another piracy milestone for the show.

193,418 eager fans downloaded and uploaded data using a single torrent of the second episode of the show’s fourth season at the same time, creating BitTorrent’s largest ever swarm.

TorrentFreak, a website dedicated to file sharing news, claimed that at the time the record was set "145,594 had a complete copy of the episode and continued to upload, while 47,824 were still downloading the file".

Unlike conventional downloads, torrents work by allowing users to join a "swarm" where users exchange fragments of a file between one another until they have a complete version.

The method is popular among non-profit organisations as it allows network burdens to be distributed among a wide number of users, the same attribute that endears it to pirates.

The show can be streamed legally through an HBO subscription, which is available as part of a number of entertainment packages.

Fans complaints about the cost of such packages led to the show being the most widely pirated in the world in 2012, with over 4.2 million downloading a single episode across several torrents.

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Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in March 2013, HBO’s programming president Michael Lombardo said: "I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales.

"[Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network."

The previous record for most widely shared file was also held by Game of Thrones, with the third series finale shared by 171,572 in a single swarm.

TorrentFreak predict the barrier of 200,000 simultaneous file-sharers will be broken as the current season progresses.

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