The season finale of Game of Thrones was watched by a record audience. The only problem? Most of them downloaded the episode illegally.
At one point, over 170,000 people were simultaneously sharing the episode, titled "Mhysa", on BitTorrent, and in just 24 hours, more than a million people had downloaded the episode.
This sets a new piracy record, according to a TorrentFreak report. The previous record had already been set by another GoT episode, the season 3 premier, which at its peak had 160,000 peers connecting.
Although the new record isn't a surprise, given the popularity of the show and the controversial nature of the previous episode, what was a surprise was how many Australians had participated in the global piracy frenzy.
According to TorrentFreak's data, the country with the greatest number of downloaders was not the United States or the UK, but Australia. The island nation with a tiny population compared to the other countries on the list had come close to topping the list in recent times, both with the GoT season premier, and the recent release of new Arrested Development episodes.
The spotlight was further cast on the land down under when U.S. Ambassador to Australia intervened recently to ask people to stop "stealing" U.S. TV shows, remarks which angered Australian Internet users.
Instead, it's the lack of reasonable legal choices for watching Game of Thrones and other U.S. TV shows that, Australians say, are encouraging many to download. The cheapest (and only) cable package for watching GoT in Australia costs $USD 70 per month.
Whatever the reason, chances are, when season 4 of GoT rolls out in 2014, these records may be broken yet again.