We all know that streaming or downloading unauthorised copyrighted content is illegal, but the fact alone didn’t stop people from accessing movies and TV shows from a pirate site for free.
For years, piracy persists as a major problem for a number of industries and a recent report by TorrentFreak showed that the problem is unlikely to go away any time soon. The privacy news site reported that for the 4th year in a row, HBO‘s American fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” was the most pirated TV show of the year.
The piracy report showed that the TV show piracy is on the rise, with the total download numbers sometimes exceeding the number of traditional viewers in the US. More than half of the downloads occurred in the first week after the show was aired too.
The season 5 finale of “Game of Thrones” was illegally downloaded an estimated 14.4 million times via BitTorrent. AMC’s “The Waling Dead” and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” were the 2nd and 3rd most pirated TV shows, with 6.9 million and 4.4 million downloads respectively. Other shows on the year’s most-pirated list include “Arrow”, “The Flash“, “Mr. Robot”, “Vikings”, “Supergirl”, “The Blacklist”, and “Suits”.
Take a look at the list of the top 10 most pirated TV shows of the year below:
- Game of Thrones (14.4 million downloads)
- The Walking Dead (6.7 million downloads)
- The Big Bang Theory (4.4 million downloads)
- Arrow (3.9 million downloads)
- The Flash (3.6 million downloads)
- Mr. Robot (3.5 million downloads)
- Vikings (3.3 million downloads)
- Supergirl (3 million downloads)
- The Blacklist (2.9 million downloads)
- Suits (2.6 million downloads)
The annual piracy report came a few days after Oscar contenders such as “The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight” were leaked to torrent sites online. The list hardly came as a surprise because the top 10 pirated TV shows are some of the most popular TV series in pop culture.
Earlier in May this year, the season premiere episode of “Game of Thrones” broke piracy records with 3.5 million illegal downloads, causing HBO to change to a streaming-only service for screeners. Overall download numbers for “Game of Thrones” may also be higher than usual this year because the opening 4 episodes of season 5 were leaked online ahead of broadcast.
However, most of the shows on the top 10 list still have more TV viewers than pirates. Case in point, “The Big Bang Theory”. The most torrented episode of the show has 4.4 million downloads, which is a fraction of its 18.3 million-strong viewership.
Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, “Game of Thrones” is brought to the screen as HBO sinks its considerable storytelling teeth into the medieval fantasy epic. It’s the depiction of 2 powerful families – kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and honest men – playing a deadly game for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and to sit atop the Iron Throne.
The 6th season of the show will see Emilia Clarke, Iwan Rheon, Lena Headey, Dean-Charles Chapman, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aidan Gillen, Natalie Dormer, Carice van Houten, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, John Bradley, Hannah Murray, and Gwendoline Christie returning to reprise their respective roles. Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Kristian Nairn, Ellie Kendrick, and Gemma Whelan, all of whom did not appear in the 5th season, will also return to star in the upcoming season of the show.
It is set to premiere in April 2016.