HBO, broadcaster of Game of Thrones, has issued take-down notices to Periscope after users of the Twitter-owned iPhone app used it to stream live video of the fifth-season premiere.
In a statement sent to media outlets, an HBO spokesperson said: "We are aware of Periscope and have sent takedown notices. In general, we feel developers should have tools which proactively prevent mass copyright infringement from occurring on their apps and not be solely reliant upon notifications."
A free app for iPhone, with an Android version coming soon, Periscope lets users broadcast live video to their Twitter followers. The video is saved to Periscope's servers and can be viewed for up to 24 hours after it has been taken. Periscope notes in its terms of service that it does not support copyright infringement, but currently relies on users alerting it to instances of infringement, rather than actively monitoring it.
The app's terms of service read: "We respect the intellectual property rights of others and expect Periscope users to do the same. We will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable law and are properly provided to us."
Periscope has a team of employees whose job it is to respond to complaints by rights holders; they can remove infringing content and shut down a user's account if they violate the app's terms and conditions.
But HBO has bigger copyright infringements problems than poor-quality streams of people filming their televisions which self-destruct after 24 hours. Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated and illegally downloaded television programmes in the world. Four episodes of the new series were illegally downloaded more than seven million times between February and April 2015, a 45% increase on the same period last year. Those episodes came from people who had been given previews of the new series on DVD.
As for Periscope, and Meerkat (another live video streaming app), Ernesto Van der Sar of Torrentfreak told the BBC: "In my view, Periscope is a non-issue [for Game of Thrones] because the show is already posted online at very high quality on several other services. But mobile live streaming could be more of an issue for live sporting events like football matches."