Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania

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December 26, 2012

Some fans of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" may not be willing to pay a premium-cable subscription fee to watch it, but short of besieging a fleet of ships with a magical explosive chemical they'll do just about anything else to get their hands on it. "Game of Thrones," the HBO fantasy drama adapted from George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" novels, was the year's most pirated show, according to the Web site TorrentFreak. TorrentFreak said that an individual episode of "Game of Thrones" had been illegally downloaded some 4.28 million times according to data compiled from BitTorrent peer-to-peer file-sharing services and other sources (the particular episode that drew this many downloads was not specified).

The volume of piracy, TorrentFreak said, may result from the fact that HBO does not make its shows available through commercial video sites like Hulu or Amazon Prime, but only on its own online platform, HBO Go, which is available only with an HBO subscription. (HBO has said it does not plan to offer HBO Go as a standalone service in the United States.) Or it may be that viewers in international markets cannot wait for "Game of Thrones" to be broadcast in their countries, after it has already been shown in the United States. (TorrentFreak said that more than 80 percent of television piracy happens outside of the United States.)

Ranking second on TorrentFreak's most-pirated list was the Showtime thriller "Dexter," with 3.85 million downloads for a single episode, followed by the CBS comedies "The Big Bang Theory" (3.2 million) and "How I Met Your Mother" (2.96 million), and the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" (2.58 million). - Dave Itzkoff, New York Times

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