• ETC
  • Jul 20, 2014
The website Final Gear is one of the premiere fan sites for Top Gear on the Internet. For over a decade, it has been providing followers of the show and its spinoffs with BitTorrent links for the episodes and gave people a place to discuss all things related. However, the site was hobbled on July 17 by a Digital Millennium Copyright Act Takedown notice that forced it to remove all of its links to the series.

In addition to publishing the notice in full, the site left this brief message to fans: "While FinalGear.com does not host any torrents or copyright infringing material, we have had to disable all episode links due to a DMCA Take-Down covering every Top Gear (and spin offs) episode." The letter indicated that it came from BBC Worldwide Consumer Products, and it specifically requested that Final Gear remove all of its links to Top Gear, Top Gear Australia and Top Gear America. While not mentioned, the site removed BitTorrent connections to Fifth Gear, as well. Otherwise, everything else, including the episode summaries and forum, are still up and running, as of this writing.

According to Final Gear, the site originally launched in October 2003 and did host the actual downloads at the time. In March 2004, it was redesigned and began using the torrents. Autoblog has reached out to the site for more information on what it plans to do going forward. We'll update this story, if we hear back.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      neonrt
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm actually surprised it took this long to happen. I always wondered how that site was allowed to do that for so long. It won't make a difference in the end people will find the content they want to view. I doubt Top Gear would be the worldwide hit it is now if not for Final Gear and torrents. It allowed millions of people to see a show they would have otherwise never had access to.
        Justin B.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @neonrt
        Spot on! Piracy is the reason Top Gear is a franchise and the reason why the BBC and everyone involved with the show is making good money. For every person that uses BitTorrent there are five more that use iTunes or Netflix BECAUSE of word of mouth. For a while, before Top Gear UK was shown on American television, the only way to watch the show was to download via torrents.
      John
      • 5 Months Ago
      Unfortunately, pirating (which most economists believe boost, rather than hinder profits) is the byproduct of content delivery companies not evolving quickly enough to match viewing habits. People want to watch only the shows they want, when they want, on the device they want. Content delivery companies need to figure out that an a-la-carte pricing model is the future.
      usmckozmo
      • 5 Months Ago
      This is pointless; The torrents themselves are still active and searchable. This just eliminates the central gathering point that Top Gear fans outside of BBC's broadcast area had to get together and enjoy the show with like minded people.
      Tweaker
      • 5 Months Ago
      Those torrents are all still where they have always been, just search.
      Groagun
      • 5 Months Ago
      Many have speculated over the last few seasons, the last 2 in particular, whether Top Gear was dead and done? This I fear may be that sign that yes, it's dead and done! What am I on about? As mentioned in the original post "This shouldn't be surprising. Honestly, with how long Final Gear has been around and how long the brass at Top Gear have known about it." So why shut it down now? There are a multitude of possible answers but they all boil down to money. I suspect, with no real evidence, that the viewing numbers for the show, on first run licensed television were down and the revenues from advertising, DVD sales, merchandise and so on have peaked and are actually starting to decline year over year. The show is not getting any cheaper to produce and the hosts are paid quite handsomely for their talents. I haven't even gone into the reality of lost revenues for 'pirated' episodes found on(through) Finalgear.com. For years the BBC didn't really care as the show made huge profits for them and didn't cost them as much when the math was in their favor. Now that the show isn't as popular and revenues have dipped, that 'cost' factor now plays the major role in this legal action: I hope! I hope, that is the reason and it's not out and out greed. Part of the reason Top Gear became so popular was it's appeal to non Brits around the world that downloaded it from Finalgear.com. This boosted merchandise sales and DVD sales and all the extra curricular activities the show now has and produces such as Top Gear Live. A small anecdote to better explain. If you're old enough to remember the late 80's and early 90's when Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Clien were first becoming popular, it was with teen and pre-teen kids in downtown urban centers like LA, NY and others. Primarily with Hip Hop kids and then spread like wildfire to the burbs and the preppy white kids. How and why, is the point here. Both fashion houses(labels) recognized early the popular trend and seized the moment by putting displays in store fronts and actually outside store fronts in particular neighborhoods. The goal was to have these 'cool' urban kids steal the clothes and wear them around as badges of honor. It worked so well for them that the lost revenues from thefts didn't move the decimal point at all when profits starting rolling in. Instant 'street cred' led to huge profits from sales to the hoards of preppy white kids in the burbs. So back to Top Gear: the 'pirated' episode trade led to the global popularity of the show and didn't hurt the bottom line, it actually increased it. Now, like the fashion labels, the wildfire spread is over, the business is mature and even declining in some areas and every penny counts. I'm sorry to say that the success of Top Gear will be the undoing of Top Gear and this is just one of many signs but it may be the most startling.
      Jim R
      • 5 Months Ago
      Unfortunate but expected. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
      Lachmund
      • 5 Months Ago
      When does the last idiot understand so called 'piracy' does NOT harm the companies. It does exactly the opposite!
      knightrider_6
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm surprised that people who watch Top Gear know how to use p2p download software.
        That Guy
        • 5 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Why does that surprise you?
        ckm
        • 5 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        It's pretty much what made the show popular. In one TG, Clarkson said they had 400 million viewers and that was before all the spinoff shows. At least 1/2 of those viewers were downloading it via P2P. Hell, I was standing in line at a GM event in about 2004, waiting to drive a GTO and people were discussing the Top Gear review - P2P was the only way to get it back then.
        Lachmund
        • 5 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        You are really such a sad person you can't even like Top Gear? Wow. I pitty you
      DeeCee
      • 5 Months Ago
      i hope the bastard responsible gets run over by fiat multipla, or is forced to drive one for the rest of his life
      Mildmanneredman
      • 5 Months Ago
      But the US version is slightly censored for curse words like "oh, C*ck and such. That's annoying. And they don't have the same great music. I not only watch it for the show, but to learn of all the cool music I should be buying (yes, buying) or adding my Spotify. Game of thrones is the most pirated show on the world and HBO hardly does a thing about it. In fact they have sort of seen it as free advertising.
        LynxFX
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Mildmanneredman
        Of course you could watch all of the blockbuster movies that the UK series rips the music straight from if you are short on song selections. You'll get it a couple years in advance.
      border411@yahoo.com
      • 5 Months Ago
      I dont think that they realise that they are so popular in america BECAUSE of that site. BBC and Top gear have known about the site FOR YEARS, and have made reference to it multiple times. Why they would target these sites are beyond me, as all they did was post links to where people could download the episodes. It was one of the best run sites promoting the shows as well! That was a bad move BBC....bad move.
      That Guy
      • 5 Months Ago
      First they give us American TG, which is worse than watching fat people throw dirty diapers at each other, now they take away the site that made them famous. Yea, that makes sense.
    • Load More Comments