Most of us have been guilty of committing this particular crime at some stage of our life, but how exactly is it affecting our favorite past time?

The internet has brought us many wonderful things, but perhaps its greatest gift of all is the ability to pirate our favorite TV shows, skipping over all that messy actually-buying-the-DVDs nonsense or watching the agonisingly slow weekly installments as they appear legitimately on the small screen.

Piracy, for those few law abiding citizens out there, is the unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention or trademarked product. This illegal act reached an all time high this week when fan favorite TV show Game of Thrones aired its highly anticipated season final. According to internet tracking site TorrentFreak the episode was downloaded roughly 1.5 million times in the 12 hours after it went to air, making it the most pirated program in history. The report showed that thousands of Australians were among those pirating Game of Thrones and in the past we’ve lead the charge when it comes to illegal downloads (Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!).

Click through the gallery to see the top ten pirated TV shows of all time.

Foxtel, who airs the show, has stated that more than 500,000 Australians watch each Game of Thrones episode via a paid subscription, while another half a million download it illegally, mostly by sharing episodes with other users through a process known as torrenting. Foxtel has now urged the Government to enact legislation that will make it much more difficult to illegally download popular programs, video games and music, claiming that the viewers who are taking part in the downloading practice are nothing more than thieves.

Consumer advocacy and advice website CHOICE have also called on the government to axe the ‘Australia tax’ and give consumers the benefits of more competition from overseas markets. CHOICE has provided new evidence showcasing the artificially high prices Australians pay for identical goods and services purchased from identical websites. Their research showed that on the whole we pay 33 per cent more than US consumers for the top 10 new release movies in Apple’s iTunes store, 26 per cent more than US consumers for a selection of new release and upcoming Playstation 4 video games and $50 more a month to watch our beloved Game of Thrones on Foxtel.

Being so hard done by, it’s easier to see why so many Australians have turned to illegal downloading but there is a catch that will affect us in the long run. CHOICE reasons that without financial rewards, artists and media companies have no incentive to create and for those playing at home that could mean NO MORE Game of Thrones. So, until the playing field is evened out many of us will continue to be law breakers and the fate of our favorite TV shows hang in the balance.

What do you think is the solution to the pirating problem? Would you be willing to download your favorite shows the legal way if the system was fairer and more affordable?