Emmy Awards Nominations reactions
Courtesy of HBO

When it comes to illegal viewing, dragons still beat zombies.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was the most-pirated TV series in 2015, according to copyright and privacy news site Torrent Freak. This is the fourth year the Emmy-winning drama has retained this crown, with an estimated 14,400,000 illegal downloads. That’s nearly double the estimated 8,100,000 illegal downloads that Torrent Freak reported it had last year.

These numbers shouldn’t be so shocking. “Thrones'” season premiere episode broke piracy records when it received 3.5 million downloads and caused HBO to change to a streaming-only service for screeners.

The second and third-most pirated TV series were “The Walking Dead” and “The Big Bang Theory,” respectively, both of which saw an increase in pirating. The AMC zombie apocalyptic drama ate away at an estimated 6,900,000 illegal downloads — up from 4,800,000 — and CBS’ nerd-themed sitcom expanded to an estimated 4,400,000 illegal downloads from last year’s estimated 3,900,000.

All three shows draw huge ratings numbers for their respective outlets, with both season premieres and finales of  “Thrones” and “Dead”  seeing strong numbers. The recent “Big Bang Theory” midseason finale that included a pivotal storyline for Jim Parson’s Sheldon and Mayim Bialik’s Amy brought in the show’s strongest ratings since it’s season premiere.

The annual piracy report comes as Hollywood is already on red alert over leaked film screeners like those for awards contenders “The Hateful Eight” and “The Revenant.” The most-pirated movies of 2015 were “Interstellar,” which came out last year, and “Furious 7.”

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