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Despite Netflix availability, the world illegally downloaded ‘Arrested Development’

arrested-development-returnsDespite the company’s exclusivity on the material, it wasn’t just Netflix that saw a traffic bump this weekend from the release of the long-awaited fourth season of cult comedy “Arrested Development.” Internet pirates also jumped on the new season, with reports suggesting that the new episodes were downloaded around 100,000 times within the first 24 hours of availability.

Note that that’s not a record-breaking amount. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” still garners tons of illegal downloads with each new episoders, but the “Arrested Development” figure is certainly sizable and inverts traditional Internet wisdom about what causes online piracy in the first place.

After all, the criticism is normally that piracy happens when the material is not easily available online. In the “Arrested Development” case, the content was very much available from Sunday onwards. All episodes of the new season were right there for the viewing, and all you had to do was sign into Netflix – one of the most common media streaming services out there. With only one barrier to entry, how much easier does it have to be for people before piracy becomes a less attractive option?

The Torrent Freak blog notes that not all of those downloading the show did so because they didn’t have Netflix subscriptions. The site suggests that those viewers may have downloaded the show, almost surreally, “out of habit” from years of use in the Torrent format, which suggests a longer-term problem combating piracy than many had previously considered.

Perhaps notably upsetting for Netflix was the fact that the country with the highest rate of illegally downloading the new episodes was the U.S., which claimed 18 percent of the downloads on the first two days of file availabilities. Close behind was Australia – a country already known for its fondness of using BitTorrent to illegally download material thanks to the abundance of “Game of Thrones” torrents in the region. Even more important to note is that Australia doesn’t have legal access to Netflix, so it follows the U.S. with 15 percent of illegal “Arrested Development” downloads. Canada rounds out the top three with 11.8 percent.

Australia manages to take the top spot for the city with the most downloads, with Melbourne responsible for 4.2 percent of all downloads of the material during the two day period. Perth makes an appearance as the third highest city (2.2 percent) while Sydney and Brisbane take the fourth and fifth spots on that list (1.9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively). Elsewhere in the world, London (2.6 percent) and Stockholm (2 percent) filled out the in-between spaces in the top five cities. If these numbers say anything, it’s that Netflix may want to start expanding globally.

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