HBO Spain suffered an uncharacteristic gaffe this week after inadvertently broadcasting the forthcoming sixth episode from the current series of Game of Thrones, four days before its official screening date.

On-demand subscribers to the pay-per-view channel had access to the latest instalment for a full hour before the blunder was addressed and the episode removed - but not before it was ripped and shared online.

The episode has since been uploaded to torrent sharing sites under the file name Game_of_Thrones_-_S07E06.flv, while various scenes are available to watch on Reddit, YouTube and Instagram.

The mistake comes after four people have been arrested in India for leaking the fourth episode from the current season before it aired, police in Mumbai announced on Monday.

Already the most pirated show in TV history, the hit fantasy drama has been plagued by leaks in recent weeks following the premiere of the penultimate seventh season.

After receiving a complaint from the Mumbai-based company Prime Focus Technology, 'we investigated the case and have arrested four individuals for unauthorized publication of the fourth episode from season seven,' Deputy Commissioner of Police Akbar Pathan told AFP.

He said three of the suspects are current employees of Prime Focus, while the fourth is a former employee. All four are accused of criminal breach of trust and computer-related offences and would be detained until August 21 amid an investigation.

Prime Focus Technology is responsible for storing and processing episodes of Game of Thrones for the video-streaming app Hotstar, which is a subsidiary
of the local broadcaster Star India, local media outlets said.

he four arrested possessed official credentials giving them access to the episodes of the popular series, the reports added.

The leaked episode, titled 'The Spoils of War,' aired in both the US and India on August 7. Its centerpiece was a heart-pounding battle sequence featuring a dragon, and it ended with a cliffhanger, which was resolved in Sunday night's episode, 'Eastwatch.'

'The Spoils of War' set a new rating record for HBO by drawing 10.2 million viewers.

The India leak is believed to be unrelated to a group of hackers known as 'Mr Smith,' which on Sunday released new episodes of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, five scripts of Game of Thrones and five months worth of internal HBO emails.

A week prior, the hackers released episodes of two other HBO shows, the sports drama Ballers starring Dwayne Johnson and the comedy series Insecure.
The massive data dump was carried out after HBO reportedly refused to pay the hackers up to $7.5million in ransom money.

Game of Thrones has won more Emmy Awards than any scripted show in history and airs in 170 countries, with viewership figures shattering records across the world.

As well as being a hit globally, it has a massive fan base in South Asia.

Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss last year announced the shortened run of seven and six episodes for the final two seasons and confirmed the summer return for season seven, a departure from the usual April premieres.

The show has been teasing winter's arrival since its pilot episode in 2011, and in the latest episode preview 'Death Is The Enemy' has finally moved closer to showcasing a clash between a horde of undead 'White Walkers' from beyond the Wall and a motley crew of warriors led by the the former Night's Watch Lord Commander-turned-King in the North Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington.