Are You Watching Stolen Television?

Each year, thousands of episodes of America's favorite shows are pirated for viewers outside the states. Did your favorite shows make TorrentFreak's list of the most pirated? Spoiler: Game of Thrones is at the very top!

Michelle Fairley of Game of Thrones

Twenty or 30 years ago, it didn't matter if people in Australia had to wait a week to see the newest episodes of their favorite shows. However, as internet use goes from a commodity to a necessity, so too does instantaneous availability of television.

The internet is rife with spoiler-laiden recaps of television shows. That makes it nearly impossible for someone with delayed access to keep from having the latest plot completely ruined. As entertainment reporters, we try very hard not to ruin it for the busy people who haven't caught up with their DVRed episodes or people outside the United States who are forced to wait a while. Just a few days ago, we had to quickly change the title of our final Gossip Girl recap so we didn't spoil it for anyone. But then there's still social media, always ready to spoil the latest plot twist for television fans with, you know, lives.

Dexter's Michael C. Hall and co-star

Enter BitTorrent

BitTorrent allows television fans to download shows (also known as "stealing") almost instantaneously. That means people in Australia with lower morals no longer have to wait a week to catch up on their favorite programs. It also allows people to access shows from subscription cable channels like HBO or Showtime. Since that stuff gets expensive — and because people on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr love to ruin a good plot twist — BitTorrent is the likely way to go for many television enthusiasts.

Each year, TorrentFreak surveys total and average download numbers to come up with its list of the most pirated shows on television. Here's the list of the most pirated shows (single episode) in 2012:

10. Revolution — 2.1 million
9. Fringe — 2.2 million
8. House — 2.3 million
7. Homeland — 2.4 million
6. The Walking Dead — 2.55 million
5. Breaking Bad — 2.58 million
4. How I Met Your Mother — 2.9 million
3. Big Bang Theory — 3.2 million
2. Dexter — 3.8 million
1. Game of Thrones — 4.2 million

How popular is your favorite show?

Images courtesy of WENN

More 2012 in review

Favorite 2012 reality winners (plus two "losers" we love)
Highest-grossing 2012 tour? Not Bieber — Madonna!
Biggest celebrity weddings of 2012

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