Game of Thrones piracy
(Image: Game of Thrones/HBO)

The Expendables 3, part of a star-studded movie franchise, was released to cinemas in 2014. However a pirated copy had leaked three weeks earlier and, in that period, 60.8 million illegal downloads were made from the BitTorrent file-sharing site. The film flopped at the box office, piracy was at least partly blamed and litigation ensued.

Fast forward (little VCR joke for the gen Xers) to 2017, and the global release of HBO's seventh season of Game of Thrones. The "legal" audience of 31 million people per episode was easily eclipsed by the show’s popularity among pirates. The first episode was illegally streamed or downloaded more than 90 million times within 72 hours, and that total went past 1 billion within six weeks of the season’s launch.