HBO’s Game of  Thrones holds the dubious crown of being the most pirated show on TV. So, the fact that HBO is extremely busy chasing pirates is no surprise — but precisely where they’re chasing them is.

As TorrentFreak reports, Pornhub and other tube sites have been on the receiving end of HBO’s legal action in the past few weeks, as the company has sought to take down sex-scene compilations of footage from Game of Thrones.

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The scale of the problem is a little impressive: Pornhub alone has thousands of results of results for ‘Game of Thrones’, which speaks to how thin the line is between quality drama and outright pornography. Game of Thrones is big business for Pornhub: the site released data showing that in the days before the season six premiere, traffic was up 370% over average.

So, on the surface, it’s understandable why HBO would want its clips removed from the site: it owns the copyright to those scenes, and in theory, being able to obtain them for free costs HBO money, in the form of revenue it’s missing out on.

But I think that’s a very narrow-minded strategy. Pornhub’s data shows that Game of Thrones porn is a highly topical genre. There’s a good chance that people are watching Game of Thrones clips on Pornhub, becoming hooked on the non-sex parts of the show, and then becoming HBO subscribers so they can watch full episodes. In that case, having clips available on Pornhub is a shrewd business move.

Of course, there’s another option: some viewers who used to watch full episodes solely for the sex scenes are instead opting to only watch those sex scenes on Pornhub, and costing HBO viewers. That’s equally possible, but probably not a reality that Pornhub wants to confront.

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