"Game of Thrones" is in the top spot of TorrentFreak's list of most pirated TV series for the year 2013.
Torrent download site TorrentFreak released its annual list of TV series with the most number of downloads through torrent links, and the HBO drama tops this year's list with a staggering 5.9 million downloads.
The shows included in the list are a mix of old favorites and new ones. The old ones include the recently-concluded "Breaking Bad" and the ongoing "The Big Bang Theory," while new entries include History Channel's "Vikings" and The CW's "Arrow."
Rounding up the list are "The Walking Dead," "Dexter," "How I Met Your Mother," "Suits" and "Homeland."
TorrentFreak claims that while there are various reasons why "Game of Thrones" are being downloaded illegally, HBO is partly to blame for this massive piracy of the series.
'The network prefers to keep access to the show 'exclusive and even Netflix wasn't able to buy the rights no matter what they offered,' says the accompanying article.
However, it appears that the show's production team and parent company are not affected by these illegal downloads. Director David Petrarca previously said that such downloads made 'cultural buzz' on the show, while Jeff Bewkes of Time Warner, parent company of HBO, claims that 'receiving the title of 'most-pirated' was 'better than an Emmy.''
But The Walking Dead producer Gale Ann Hurd has a harder stance on piracy. She once talked Ted Johnson of Variety about the 'mistaken belief by many of my peers that piracy is somehow good,' apparently making a rebuke on Bewkes and Breaking Bad director Vince Gilligan who told BBC that piracy 'led to a lot of people watching the series who otherwise would not have.'
'I'm not sure they really understand other than anecdotal evidence that their ratings go up that the people who pirate are not then going to choose legal downloads or legal viewing in the future,' Hurd tells Johnson.
TorrentFreak made the list based on several sources including downloads reported by public BitTorrent trackers. However, online streaming and cyberlocker downloads are not included since there are no available public sources to draw data from.
To contact the editor, e-mail: