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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Piracy 'costs US studios $6.1bn'
Pirate DVDs
The research was conducted in 28 countries, over 18 months
Hollywood studios have claimed that film piracy cost them $6.1bn (3.3bn) in lost revenue in 2005.

The study, commissioned by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), suggested the figure was 75 per cent higher than previous estimates.

The report is the first to measure losses for internet piracy, which it said cost the industry $2.3bn.

"This study will help us better analyse and focus our efforts to fight movie theft," said MPAA's Dan Glickman.

Bootlegging, which the study defines as buying illegally copied films, DVDs or video CDs, was said to account for $2.4 billion in lost revenue. Illegal copying - which included viewers making copies for their own personal use - made up $1.4 billion of the estimated yearly loss.

DVD sales

In the United States, illegal copying is the most prominent way to get pirated movies, whereas in other countries, downloads and bootlegging are more commonly used.

Analyst Todd Chanko of New York-based Jupiter Research said the MPAA should be focusing its efforts on securing international agreement to combate bootlegging around the world.

"The MPAA has been throwing these kinds of figures around for years," he told BBC News website.

"It's interesting information, but impossible to verify for the average person.

"As bad as peer-to-peer copying on the internet is, it's nothing compared to overseas factories producing pirate DVDs."

Losses to revenue stemmed not only from fewer ticket sales in cinemas but also from fewer DVD sales, the MPAA's report added.

Piracy in the North American and European markets accounted for the greatest loss of studio revenue.

However, relative to overall market size, losses to MPAA companies were higher in China than anywhere else.

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