Half of the new series of 'Games of Thrones' gets leaked online
Four episodes of HBO's hit show 'Game of Thrones' have been leaked, hours before the season premiere of the blockbuster swords-and-dragons series.
The leak of nearly half the series appears to have originated from DVD previews sent to media.
The first episode of the show's fifth season was aired in the US last night and will broadcast in Ireland on Sky Atlantic tonight.
'Game of Thrones' ranks as one of the world's most- pirated shows, according to TorrentFreak, a website that covers piracy. The episodes were downloaded more than 100,000 times and appeared on sites including Pirate Bay, TorrentFreak reported.
The leak occurred just days after HBO's new online-only subscription web service, HBO Now, became available in the US to Apple customers.
"We're actively assessing how this breach occurred," an HBO spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Kit Harington, one of the stars of the drama, has apologised after there was uproar at comments he made about Belfast on an American chat show.
The 28-year-old Londoner joked that Belfast is "wonderful for two or three days" and emphasised that he has spent five years filming in the city, drawing laughter from the audience.
Harington added: "They've got a wonderful tourist board. They celebrate three things, which is having the most bombed hotel in Europe, which is great … and they built the Titanic, which is a ship that sunk on its maiden voyage, and now they have 'Game of Thrones', the most depressing TV show in history. So it's a wonderful, depressing tourist board."
After a storm erupted over the remarks, Harington has now said: "At first I felt people had misunderstood it and then I realised I should apologise.
"I did not mean it to come across in any way derogatory of Belfast or snobbery of Belfast. I would hate to think anyone thought I thought that. Belfast is like a second home to me."