HBO has been extremely vigilant this year in protecting Game Of Thrones spoilers from being revealed before the show episodes are actually released. The company's aggressive online purging of links to illegal episode downloads and leaked plot secrets and storylines has resulted in at least one request to remove a spoiler from a YouTube source based upon copyright claims, despite the fact that no copyright infringement was performed.

Last year's debacle, in which the first four episodes of Game Of Thrones were leaked online in full and led to millions of illegal downloads of the episodes via torrent sites and other sources prior to the series official debut, has led to an increased effort on the part of HBO to protect both the episodes themselves and any information regarding their plotlines.

This year, for the first time ever, HBO decided not to send out the usual DVD screeners to the press prior to the debut of the new season, instead opting to hold a secure, private viewing party for critics in Los Angeles just days before the first new episode aired.

After the episodes began airing, the company then became more aggressive than ever in removing and requesting their removal from torrent sites and other places where the pirated content could be distributed. In some cases, episodes were removed from file sharing sites only minutes after appearing, indicating a dedicated team of web watchers patrolling the net for violations. HBO also sent thousands of warning notices to ISPs alerting them to subscribers who it claimed had illegally downloaded Game Of Thrones, requesting they take action against the infringers and also adding a suggestion that the ISPs recommend that their customers subscribe to HBO legally in order to watch the show going forward.

While all of these actions are completely legitimate and understandable, it looks as if HBO took things a bit too far when it tried to take down not only copies of episodes, but online spoilers that purportedly revealed plots of future episodes.

Using copyright infringement claims, HBO requested that YouTube remove a spoiler video by a poster named Frikidoctor, who apparently has a close inside source that has fed him reliable information in the past. However, there was no copyrighted material in the post. While prior posts by Frikidoctor did include some widely available clips from trailers along with press images, this particular video only featured the poster himself, dressed in Mexican garb and talking about Game Of Thrones to viewers in his native Spanish language.

While YouTube temporarily removed the video, Frikidoctor disputed HBO's claims, and emerged victorious.

"Hi everyone! YouTube has analyzed my counter notifications, has decided that the claims against me were invalid, and also have removed the strikes from my account," Frikidoctor announced on Reddit. "So basically, freedom of speech has been restored! Thanks everyone for your support!"

Frikidoctor has pledged to continue posting his "predictions" for Game Of Thrones each Friday, and it will be interesting to see if HBO's strategists issue another copyright claim in order to temporarily remove the potential spoilers until YouTube can review its merits, by which time the episode will likely have already aired.

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