As the Internet went wild watching the final moments of Walter White's existence in the land of television--an existence that will no doubt live on in streaming reruns--folks who didn't have access to the episode made sure they didn't have to wait long to find out how the show ended. Naturally, the content acquisition method of choice for the Breaking Bad finale was copyright infringement. Instead of waiting for AMC/Netflix/iTunes/Amazon Instant Video to post the episode, a few hundred thousand impatient fans turned to their favorite bit torrent search engine and downloaded the appropriate torrent file.
While we can debate the entertainment industry's willingness to adapt to the Internet and the freedom it provides (emphasis on "free"), these acts of content distribution are still illegal in most countries, except for maybe Portugal. Considering how many almost-immediate downloads of the premiere episode of Breaking Bad's final season there were, the news of finale downloading should come as no surprise. It is, however, worth noting the Breaking Bad finale is trying claim to another crown:
The most illegally downloaded television episode of 2013.
It's certainly off to a good start. According to research done by Torrent Freak, in just 12 hours after airing, the final episode has been downloaded over 500,000 times. To determine these findings, the publication sampled data from multiple torrent tracking sites, and to the potential surprise of some, the United States was not the leader in the clubhouse for most downloads; although, it was second. The country rankings, according to Torrent Freak's data:
1 Australia - 18.0%
2 United States - 14.5%
3 United Kingdom - 9.3%
4 Canada - 5.7%
5 India - 5.1%
6 Netherlands - 2.4%
7 Poland - 2.4%
8 Philippines - 2.3%
9 France - 2.2%
10 South Africa - 2.1%
As noted when the downloading frequency of the premiere episode was being discussed, many of these countries have legal alternatives to downloading, and in the United States especially, that alternative is free, courtesy of AMC streaming the Breaking Bad finale on their site. Nevertheless, file sharing as a means of content delivery clearly remains a legitimate, if not the preferred method for many.
In other news, considering the way Netflix uses file sharing data in relation to its content, one wonders if they'll put any pressure on AMC to get access to the final Breaking Bad episodes a little earlier for their United States subscribers.[Lead image courtesy of TV.com]