Despite long-gestating Hollywood efforts to curb online piracy, demand for illegal content remained strong in 2012. And some familiar targets topped the most-downloaded list.
In single episodes of TV shows, HBO’s Game of Thrones led the pack, with more than 4 million downloads of the second-season finale alone. Showtime’s Dexter and CBS’s The Big Bang Theory each cleared 3 million downloads for single episodes.
Among movies, sleeper teen comedy Project X was the surprise No. 1, followed closely by the latest Mission: Impossible installment and The Dark Knight Rises. Each film was pirated more than 8 million times.
Piracy has remained more or less steady in recent years, but it was the subject of especially strong scrutiny this year due to the failed Stop Online Piracy Act. Studios have since instituted the "Copyright Alert System,” which targets illegal downloaders through their Internet providers.