09:25 28 August 2009
BBC's 'Top Gear' is one of the most illegally downloaded show's around the world, a new study has revealed.
The research conducted by firm Big Champagne, found that millions of television viewers are now using file-sharing services to access free and unauthorised copies of programmes around the world.
And during the last series of 'Top Gear', figures show around 300,000 downloads of each episode in the days immediately following their broadcast in the UK.
However, Britain accounted for just 4% of the download activity, while 47% came from the United States.
The popular motoring show is played on BBC America after it has been shown in the UK but it seems eager American fans are eager to download it before it is available legally.
Big Champagne's research also found that US drama 'Heroes' was the most popular illegal download this year with around 55 million downloaded of the show.
Superhero film 'Watchmen' was the most illegally downloaded movie, followed by 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button', with 13 million.
Eric Garland, chief executive of Big Champagne said: "Millions of television viewers now access free, unauthorised versions of favourite shows at least some of the time.
"This is a socially acceptable form of casual piracy - and it is replacing viewing hours."
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