(UPDATED with more details) This Sunday’s episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones was leaked online early this morning, but the leak is not related to the hack that the premium cabler experienced last week. According to sources, the leaked episode come from an Indian distributor called Star.
The low-quality-format version included a “for internal viewing only” watermark that clearly designated the subcontinent distributor. The episode appeared on Google Drive postings in a Reddit thread, but was later removed with the following explanation added: “The file has been taken down for violating GoogleDrive’s TOS. You can no longer view it.”
Judging by comments posted on the Reddit thread, the episode seems to have been online for a couple hours early this morning. While Deadline will not quote spoilers, commenters who claimed to have watched the episode called it “terrifying” and “intense.”
HBO told Deadline this morning that it had no comment on this GoT leak. However, Star India did have something to say.
“This confirms the compromise of episode 4 of Game of Thrones Season 7, earlier this afternoon,” the pay-TV distributor said in a statement Friday. “We take this breach very seriously and have immediately initiated forensic investigations at our and the technology partner’s end to swiftly determine the cause. This is a grave issue and we are taking appropriate legal remedial action.”
This past Monday, HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler sent an email to HBO employees alerting them of the hack of what he called “proprietary information.” Wrote Plepler, “We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cybersecurity firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold.”
In the context of the larger HBO hack, it is noteworthy that while the hackers put up at least one GoT script online, they have not posted any actual Season 7 episodes of the blockbuster based on George RR Martin’s books.
Having debuted to record ratings on July 16, the penultimate season of the Emmy-winning drama concludes on August 27. The final season of GoT is scheduled to debut next year.