'Game of Thrones' Heavily Pirated After Season Premiere

Courtesy of HBO

Despite a free preview for HBO this past weekend, more than a million people are downloading.

Reputed to be the most pirated television show ever, HBO's Game of Thrones is continuing to be a hotly traded item on torrent networks at the start of its sixth season.

On the morning after its season premiere, more than a million people have already downloaded the episode, reports TorrentFreak. Other news outlets report that the show leaked online shortly before its debut on Sunday night.

In past years, HBO has launched services for mobile viewing and for cord-cutters, and arranged to have Game of Thrones premiered simultaneously throughout the world. Nevertheless, the show continues to get pirated at a brisk pace. This year, HBO hoped to avoid spoilers by holding back press review copies. Additionally, this past weekend saw a free HBO preview weekend for cable subscribers. 

Ratings for the premiere of Game of Thrones haven't been registered yet, but according to TorrentFreak, the amount of piracy is currently heavy but behind last year's pace.

In 2015, it was estimated that 8 million people watched the season five premiere live while 13 million people downloaded the episode.

In the past, HBO has registered takedown notices over the existence of pirated copies and sent warnings to ISP users sharing the series, but has largely avoided any big litigation over copyright infringements of the hit fantasy drama.