‘Arrested Development’ Pirated More Than 100,000 Times in 24 Hours

The revival of Arrested Development has been enjoyed by many people who don't subscribe to Netflix.

Within 24 hours of the show's Sunday premiere, it had been downloaded more than 100,000 times, according to Ernesto Van Der Sar (real name: Lennart Renkema), the editor of TorrentFreak who monitors activity on torrent sites. That's well short of the more than 1 million downloads of the season premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones two months ago, but still represents a brisk rate by usual TV show standards.

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The new Arrested Development included a sight gag on piracy.

When the new episodes flashed back to old episodes, a watermark was included in the middle of the screen that read, "Showstealer Pro Trial Version" -- the joke being first, that Netflix couldn’t afford to license old clips so it had to steal old television clips, and second, that Arrested Development was a hugely pirated show in its heyday.

On social media, viewers were buzzing about whether the watermark was a mistake. There's now a Showstealer Pro Trial Version webpage that touts its connection to the latest season of Arrested Development.

Another irony in the torrent activity around Arrested Development comes from comments made by Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos earlier this month. In reaction to a question about what Netflix was doing to combat piracy, he told one publication that "BitTorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows."

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That caused BitTorrent to blog a reaction. In a post titled "Reports of Our Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated," the vice president of marketing at BitTorrent agreed with Sarandos that making content more accessible would curb piracy, but disputed "the assertion that BitTorrent traffic drops as Netflix is introduced to new markets."

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner

Eriq Gardner