'Arrested Development' a hit... for pirates

The new episodes are well-watched, but fans aren't necessarily tuning in to Netflix, opting instead for torrent Web sites.

Jason Bateman and a friend in a promo clip for Netflix's new season of "Arrested Development."
Jason Bateman and a friend in a promo clip for Netflix's new season of "Arrested Development." YouTube/Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

The Bluth's crackerjack legal counsel Barry Zuckerkorn keeps advising them take to the sea whenever they want to circumvent rules, and some viewers of the new "Arrested Development" season are doing just that. They're just heading to pirate-infested waters.

The episodes that debuted this weekend on Netflix have quickly become a hot pirated commodity, with TorrentFreak saying they've had more than 175,000 downloads in the past two days. Unsurprisingly, the illegal downloading is brisk in English-speaking countries where Netflix isn't available, such as Australia.

But the company's home turf -- the U.S., where new users can get a free trial to watch the show if they don't subscribe already--is where most of the pirated viewing happening.

While the illegal downloading ramped up quickly for a show that can be viewed with an inexpensive subscription or free trial membership to Netflix, it's a drop in the bucket compared to other shows that are popular as torrents. Game of Thrones, with high-price moat around it, had a million downloads on BitTorrent in less than a day for its most recent premier.

You can't blame fans of the show for sharing a fondness for maritime law.

About the author

Joan E. Solsman is a senior writer for CNET focused on digital media. She previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere in New York City and has been doored only once.


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