Dean Norris and Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad.
Australians were the leading illegal downloaders of the latest episode of US blockbuster TV series Breaking Bad.
In figures set to bolster the country's reputation for piracy, 16.1 per cent of early illegal downloads came from Australia.
The US came a close second with 16 per cent followed by Canada and the UK.
Melburnians were the worst offenders globally, accounting for about one in 20 illegal downloads. Sydney came third, with about one in 30.
The figures were drawn from a sample of more than 4000 downloads of torrent files, which allow peer-to-peer sharing of TV shows, movies, music and other files.
They were compiled by tech blog TorrentFreak throughout the day following the debut of the episode, Blood Money, on US TV on Monday.
The long-anticipated episode is the first in the second half of the fifth and final season and spurred huge piracy figures.
After 12 hours, half a million people had downloaded a copy via BitTorrent.
Foxtel aired the episode on Monday night, about five hours behind the US. It was also made available to Australians via the iTunes store.
This showed availability was not the reason people downloaded the show illegally, said Neil Gane, the managing director of anti-piracy group the Australian Screen Association.
They simply want to get it for free, he said.
"The latest illegal download figures of Breaking Bad yet again highlight Australia as having the highest per-capita piracy rates in the world."