Latest Game of Thrones episode leaks online before TV broadcast

Image: HBO

An unreleased episode of Game of Thrones has been published online ahead of its TV debut on Sunday. Episode 4 of season 7 has now leaked online in a low-quality format — thanks to Google Drive postings in a Reddit thread. The Verge can confirm this episode is genuine, and the copy includes a “for internal viewing only” watermark attached.

HBO was subject to a security breach earlier this week, allowing hackers to reportedly obtain 1.5 terabytes of stolen data from the company’s US servers. Sources familiar with HBO’s security leak tell The Verge that this was not related to this episode leak. This latest episode has leaked from a distribution partner and not as a direct result of the recent HBO security breach. Hackers have so far only published published script outlines on the web, rather than full episodes.

HBO has had to battle with Game of Thrones leaks a number of times in the past. The first four episodes of season 5 leaked online, thanks to advance screeners that are sent out to members of the press. A HBO subsidiary also released a season 6 episode a day early. HBO decided to scrap screeners for season 7, but that hasn’t stopped an episode leaking from a distribution partner. The Verge has reached out to HBO for comment, and we’ll update you accordingly.

Update, 9:50AM ET: Article updated with additional details on a leak from a distribution partner.

The leaked Game of Thrones episode

Comments

As far as journalistic ethics go: Is it newsworthy enough to publish this while also bringing attention to the availability of stolen property?

I’m not really interested in defending HBO as much as I want to hold my news sources accountable. It concerns me.

While I like the Verge, and will continue to read them, there are many times they publish articles solely for the clicks.

I believe you meant to state providing a link where the stolen material can be procured. Following the logic of your statement leads to the conclusion that news outlets should not report on the, for example, theft Macs and iPhones from an Apple store in [x] city, or Wikileaks stealing [insert any number of documents] and publishing them online because reporting on either ‘[brings] attention to the availability of stolen property.’

No, there is a difference. This is a crime currently being executed. I do believe it is of interest to people but that making people aware that it is available to be taken is questionable.

To relate it to me: I work at a financial company. If I provided people information such as details regarding certain securities or trading activity, even if I do not participate financially I am still liable for exposing sensitive information. While it is true that The Verge is not legally obligated like I am they are still bound by institutional ethics guidelines. It is widely recognized by news media that when there is a crime in the process that providing status updates and details is questionable. This comes up often with investigations, military operations, and even hacks.

Reporting news after-the-fact is totally acceptable. In your examples the property was already stolen, not being stolen. Letting people know that the bank right now isn’t guarded is potentially unethical, especially if it leads to a crime (which if someone reading this decides to search and then download the pirated material then this article contributed to a crime being committed). It is about having social responsibility.

I want to be exceedingly clear though that I think that they can and should be able to legally publish this. I am only talking about the ethics of journalism which is a quasi-institutional system of rules which journalists are expected to abide by.

The analogy to your work and assertion that this should be reported ‘after-the-fact’ is flawed given the nature of the internet. Specifically, as we are all aware, nothing published online can be deleted. Therefore the ‘crime’ will continue indefinitely and thereby, following your logic, leave news outlets unable to report the matter. For completeness, even if you assert that they should have held off until after the episode aired, it changes nothing because they are still bringing attention to an ongoing crime.

I will state again that reporting the theft of HBO’s copyrighted material does not breach any ethical norms or journalistic integrity. Further, if you want to call the author out for anything it should be the provision of a direct link to where the material can be obtained.

This is after the fact, and broadly disseminated. It is no longer insider-information. In the securities world, you would get in trouble if it were already public.

People who would want to torrent the episode will do it regardless, only 4 days later.
Also, even if I didn’t have an HBO subscription, I’d never spoil the new GoT episode for myself by watching it in a shitty LQ rip like this one here.

This news story is being published everywhere. There’s no point of one source abiding by certain ethics in online journalism as its the tragedy of the commons: those news sources that are the least ethical will get all the clicks and succeed.

Why do u have to include the link?
Now Verge is also responsible for spreading the stolen content. So sad:(

Honestly, it’s not hard to find with a quick google search which I just did and it led me to the same site and also a few others.

I have a feeling this will make things worse for us fans who actually wait to watch it on television or one of HBO’s streaming services.

I doubt it will have any effect at all. Piracy has existed for a long time, doesn’t seem to have much impact. Maybe it stops some sorts of things from being made – Ghost in the Shell is highly pirated, if they all had bought a movie ticket, maybe it wouldn’t have flopped and there would be a sequel. On the other hand, why would we want a sequel? As long as pirates have terrible taste, and judging from what gets pirated they sure don’t seem to have good taste, piracy won’t hurt anything worthwhile.

I doubt it will have any effect at all. Piracy has existed for a long time, doesn’t seem to have much impact.

Yep.

In the old days… a music album could be the best-selling album… and the most pirated album.

At the same time!!!!

Why’s it only 50 minutes long?

I have no interest in downloading this, so I can only guess, but it may be that (from a quick Google), India is PAL territory, so probably it’s sped up from 24 fps to 25 fps. It also could be that the credits are cut off, or both.

Different FPS does change the length of movies, but not by that long. I’d guess that the episode is either just short, or as you said, with credits cut off. That "previously on" and the intro alone are almost 5 minutes long.

it’s 59 minutes, not 50

Because HBO lets show-runners tailor episode lengths to best fit with the overarching narrative.

This is the shortest episode of GoT ever, according to the creators.

Who wants to watch GoT in that inferior quality though? (seems to be only available in a version that is 290MB… for one hour of video… go figure).
I’ll gladly wait a few days and watch the real deal in all it’s crisp glory. It is 2017. Every video that isn’t at least 1080p isn’t worth watching.

Every Meh-llenial that watches movies and shows on a phone don’t care about quality, period. It’s all just about quick mass consumption of content before anyone else. This generation has taken a huge step backwards by excelling at embracing mediocrity instead of quality. Streaming shows cheaply or pirating content just to save less money then it costs to buy a Starbucks latte every day and then sitting in front of a 5" screen with mono-speaker or earbuds for 8 hours binge watching it all, ridiculous.

Something like GoT deserves to be savored and played at the best quality available, but who cares if you just want to be first to go on Snapchat and brag about knowing who dies next.

You should change your statement to say "some meh-llenials" instead of "every meh-llenial". I know several millenials, myself included, who’d rather watch the show as it airs on TV. I also notice several people during my morning and afternoon commutes watching it on their smartphones and they range in age from teens to 60s.

I’m convinced that GoT (which I gave up on long ago) and The Walking Dead (which I think I am giving up on) are popular because people are treating them like video games. It’s all about Who Dies Next. That’s the only reason to bother pirating this stuff when you could get it for cheap, with good quality, in various legal ways (streaming, even ye olde DVDs).

I wonder when the TV producers will catch on and start making Ten Little Indians style shows that strips it all down to the essence of what these viewers want. There is no end to the number of characters that can be created just to kill them off. The next step is the Survivor route: start letting social media vote on who dies next.

I agree that you should watch at the best quality available to you but I don’t agree with your stance on a cell phone/tablet.

My iPad has a better picture quality than my TV and my 720p projector, I’m not going to run out and buy a new 4K TV until 4K projectors drop in price and HDMI 2.1 is included.

So yeah, sometimes the best quality available to someone IS their phone or tablet.

Wow where do I even start. This is just a dumb and useless comment. "Meh-llenial" is the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day and I just qatched a video of funny clips from the Alex Jones show.

"Let me tell you how you’re supposed to enjoy things."

-You

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