Game of Thrones is already the most pirated show on television but illegal downloads have jumped by 45% in the three months ahead of season five premiering.
Research by rights management and piracy protection firm Irdeto found that episodes of series one to four were downloaded more than 7 million times this year, compared with 4.9 million in the same period in 2014.
The figures from 5 February to 6 April put the fantasy show ahead of The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Vikings and House Of Cards.
Brazil came out as the country with the most illegal downloads, with France second and the US third.
Last year the season four finale was illegally downloaded 8 million times, according to file-sharing news site TorrentFreak.
The adaptation of George RR Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire books has become a global success and has launched the careers of many British actors such as Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke and Natalie Dormer.
It revolves around a ruthless power struggle between noble families who covet the Iron Throne in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
Game Of Thrones can also lay claim to having the second-highest body count of any US television show in 2012, with an average of 14 deaths per episode, according to Funeralwise.com.
Spartacus was first with 25.
HBO, which makes the show, is making it harder to watch the fifth series illegally this time around by simulcasting the first episode in 170 countries on 12 April.