In the weeks leading up to the much anticipated premiere of Season 5 of Game of Thrones, there has been a huge surge in illegal downloads of the HBO hit show.
Antipiracy firm Irdeto found that episodes of Game of Thrones were illegally downloaded more than 7 million times from Feb. 5 to April 6, a 45% increase worldwide from the same period in 2014.
In the same three months last year there were just 4.9 million downloads.
The data shows that, in 2015, illegal downloads of the show were averaging 116,000 per day.
Those figures make Game of Thrones easily the world’s most pirated television show so far this year, beating The Walking Dead, (5.7 million illegal downloads), Breaking Bad (3.8 million), Vikings (3.4 million) and House of Cards (2.7 million).
Brazil ranks as the top illegal downloader, with almost a million Game of Thrones downloads. France comes in a close second followed by the U.S. with 464,000 downloads.
“Piracy is a tidal wave that cannot be controlled, only managed. There is a culture of ‘free’ where many people believe that it is acceptable to pirate these TV shows if they don’t have access to them through legal means,” Rory O’Connor, vice president of services at Irdeto, said in the report.