'Game of Thrones' Is The Most Pirated TV Show Of 2012

Last year, "Dexter" just barely edged out "Game of Thrones" for the top slot in TorrentFreak's "Top 10 Most Pirated TV Shows". But the tides have turned, with HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's fantasy epic becoming the most pirated TV show of 2012.

This year "Game of Thrones" saw nearly 4.3 million downloads for a single episode, while "Dexter" lagged behind in the second place slot with a mere 3.85 million downloads. Third place in TorrentFreak's annual study was taken by "The Big Bang Theory", while "How I Met Your Mother" nabbed the 4th place position.

Unsurprisingly, most TV show piracy – nearly 80 percent – occurs outside of the US, due to the lack of availability. "Game of Thrones" in particular is very popular in Australia. However, fans there have to wait a week longer than those of us in the United States to see the latest episode, which has many turning to BitTorrent for an early fix.

There's also the matter of HBO refusing to offer a standalone HBO GO subscription. Many people have admitted they would be more than happy to pay for such a subscription, but the fact that it isn't available turns illegal downloads into the next best option for many households.