Illegal Downloads of Popular Shows Like ‘Game of Thrones’ and 'Dexter' Can Cost Thrifty Viewers $150,000 in the Long Run According to New Article

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The appeal of saving money through illegal downloads is what drives cash-strapped Americans to illegal file sharing websites. However, personal finance website investigates internet piracy laws and reveals the initial savings downloaders enjoy are often negated by the thousands of dollars in damages and fines if caught by copyright watchdogs.

Pirate Bay

Pirate Bay

If you’re looking for savings and are not fond of taking risks, you’re better off watching premium TV shows with a friend who has a valid subscription, and finding other, legal ways to save money.

Premium cable fan-favorites, HBO’s Game of Thrones and Showtime’s Dexter, took first and second place for most illegally downloaded TV shows of 2012 with 4,280,000 and 3,850,000 downloads, respectively, according to TorrentFreak.

While piraters turn to illegal file sharing sites to save money and get their fill of new episodes -- sometimes downloading an entire TV series in one sitting -- a new article by GoBankingRates explores the extreme measures copyright owners are undergoing to protect their creative work. The report reveals the penalties that illegal file sharers can expect to pay if they’re found liable for copyright infringement.

Arif A. Mahmood, international intellectual property and social media lawyer tells GoBankingRates, “More and more law firms are forcing ISPs to turn over the internet identities of file sharers and going after them individually.”

Mahmood reveals in the report that illegal downloaders who “willfully” violate copyright laws through illegal file sharing sites can pay up to $150,000 in statutory damages, which is far more financially burdensome than paying for a premium cable subscription service or a DVD.

Advocates of illegal file sharing websites tout the savings they reap from downloading music, videos and more for free, but critics of the practice say it’s causing creative industries to lose profits. In fact, the Motion Picture Association of America estimated illegal downloads cost the film industry about $20.5 billion per year, according to The Washington Post.

The article finds, however, that not all entertainers view illegal downloads as a negative. GoBankingRates interviewed renowned comedian Dan Nainan, who says file sharing has helped him gain more exposure and a stronger fan following.

“At the end of the day, illegal downloads are always a gamble,” says Jennifer Calonia, editor for GoBankingRates. “If you’re looking for savings and are not fond of taking risks, you’re better off watching premium TV shows with a friend who has a valid subscription, and finding other, legal ways to save money.”

See the full report here.
For questions about this guide or to speak with Jennifer Calonia, please use the contact information below.

About is a national website dedicated to connecting readers with the best interest rates on financial services nationwide, as well as informative personal finance content, news and tools. collects interest rate information from more than 4,000 U.S. banks and credit unions, making it the only online rates aggregator with the ability to provide the most comprehensive and authentic local interest rate information.


Jaime Catmull, Director of Public Relations
310.297.9233 x261


Sources: TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones Most Pirated TV-Show of 2012, December 2012; Washington Post, SOPA: How Much Does Online Piracy Really Cost the Economy, January 2012.

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