The first four episodes of the new season of Game of Thrones leaked online last weekend. In the first 18 hours, over 1 million people had downloaded the leaked episodes. Game of Thrones is HBO’s most popular television series, with last season’s finale drawing more than 7 million viewers.
It did not take long for the pirated episodes to spread online to social media, and for DMCA notices to start appearing in mailboxes across the country. Users of Periscope, Twitter’s online video streaming service, started hosting the leaked episodes over their accounts. Once HBO became aware that Twitter was showing episodes of its most popular television show several weeks early, Periscope users had their accounts suspended for copyright infringement.
Websites that monitor internet usage metrics have argued that Game of Thrones is the most pirated television show in the world. One piracy-tracking website has data showing that Season 4 of Game of Thrones was downloaded 8.1 million times in 2014.
Companies like HBO are calling for social media services to do more to pre-empt copyright infringement, instead of waiting to act after it happens. Presently, other users have to flag pirated content so administrators can remove copyrighted material.
Owners of copyrighted material have rights to the original work. By pirating and streaming copyrighted work online, people are publicly displaying property that does not belong to them. For the television and film industry, no “definitive” dollar amount can be placed on revenue lost to piracy, but some argue it is in the hundreds of millions.
Copyright infringement attorneys are a powerful ally for businesses that are threatened and harmed by online piracy. Businesses that are undergoing copyright disputes can use attorneys to issue injunctions that stop the production or sale of copyrighted materials, and to recover monetary damages.
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Did You Know? Right after the founding of the country, the Copyright Act of 1790 became one of the first copyright laws in the US.
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