A study ordered by the Motion Picture Association of America has claimed that Hollywood missed out on $6.1 billion last year in lost revenues due to piracy, with the internet denying copyright holders $2.3 billion of that figure.
The study was the first of its kind to measure the impact of the internet on the movie industry's profits. The counterfeiting of goods, or bootlegging, alledgedly accounted for $2.4 billion in lost revenues whilst illegal copying (which included individuals creating copies for their own personal use) totalled $1.4 billion in lost revenues.
Figures for the US showed that copying DVDs was the most common form of movie-theft, as opposed to other countries in which online piracy and the sale of fake goods reigned supreme.
Todd Chanko, an analyst at Jupiter Research (who conducted the study on behalf of the MPAA) remarked: "As bad as peer-to-peer copying on the internet is, it's nothing compared to overseas factories producing pirate DVDs."
He told BBC News: "The MPAA has been throwing these kinds of figures around for years, it's interesting information, but impossible to verify for the average person."
Unsurprisingly the MPAA recorded highest losses in China, where bootlegging rages rampantly. The otherwise global increase could perhaps be blamed on the coming-of-age of peer-to-peer applications such as BitTorrent. The MPAA has targetted BitTorrent before, closing down many of the tracker sites that make the network such an attractive prospect for filesharers.