By Peter Lesser ( | First Posted: Mar 06, 2013 01:51 PM EST

HBO plans to crack down on illegal download as the third season of 'Game of Thrones' apporaches (Photo : Facebook)

Illegal downloading is the most common form of theft. It's just too easy. Most people do it, and if they don't, it's likely they've unknowingly watched someone else's illegal download. That's why HBO has announced its plans to deter online pirating as its third season of "Game of Thrones" approaches. The second season was the most pirated show of 2012.

HBO's Jeff Cusson, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, admits that the network itself is responsible for the high number of illegal downloads. He claims that HBO must be more diligent in making episodes available internationally on the network's online streaming site HBO Go.

At times, the most recent episodes won't be available to international viewers for a week after their original airdate, something that HBO is determined to change.

"We think the key to combatting piracy is to make the content like 'Game of Thrones' available worldwide within the smallest window possible... to 176 territories within the week of the U.S. premiere," Cusson told Forbes. "HBO is also rolling out HBO Go internationally."

Last year, each episode of the shows averaged 4.28 million downloads, nearly half of the 10.3 million average television viewers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Although online pirating has become a growing concern, there are still many different opinions weighing its pros and cons.

Of course, illegal downloading takes potential advertising or DVD sales money away from the network, however, it allows more people to watch and therefore discuss the show. The more attention a show gets, the better it will presumably do. Many members of the film industry, including "Game of Thrones" actors, are ambivalent on the matter.

"I suppose it's a bit of a backhanded compliment, isn't it?" Rose Leslie told Access Hollywood regarding the show's status as the most pirated on television. "I don't think HBO will be too happy, but yes, one way or another that's a huge compliment. Not just to me but to the whole show."

Leslie is right. HBO is not too happy, and it's doing everything in its power to prevent future pirating, even if they refuse to see the silver lining.

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