Game of Thrones season 5: This is why episodes 1 to 4 leaked

And while you won't be getting more than four episodes ahead of time

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The Independent Culture

Game of Thrones fans were sent into paroxysms at the weekend when episodes 1 to 4 of season 5 leaked shortly before the first's broadcast.

They almost certainly stem from preview copies sent to press, but could easily have been avoided.

When journalists get sent preview streams (DVDs are rarely sent out anymore) they tend to be watermarked with a serial code or the reviewer's name, so that if it pops up online the network will know who is to blame.

The problem is, someone - whether the journalist or someone who obtained it from them - simply blurred out the code (which is why those of you who have watched the leaks might have noticed a blur in the bottom left hand corner of the picture).

This sucks for those of us trying to honestly review the episodes ahead of broadcast with no intention of pirating them, and will likely make networks even more suspicious and less inclined to help out.

HBO could have tried a little harder with their anti-piracy efforts though, implementing a system like Showtime's whereby the code jumps around the screen at different points for different users, so that if the code/name is blurred, their identity can still be tracked by its position. One more thing – season previews tend to consist of the first four episodes, so don't expect episodes 5 through 10 to pop-up anytime soon.