The Motion Picture Association (that's the international version of the MPAA) is reporting that, because of piracy in China, the worldwide film industry lost a whopping $2.7 billion in 2005. This total primarily includes losses suffered by the country's own productions (about $1.5 billion) and those of Hollywood studios ($565 million). For the study, the MPA brought in LEK Consulting, who have calculated that 93% of China's movie sales are of pirated material, whether in the format of bootleg DVDs (accounting for $1.63 billion) or illegal downloads ($1.04 billion). In 2003, the MPA had conducted its own study, which showed only a $178 million loss.

Wow! And to think how much I've scoffed at the MPAA's whining about domestic piracy. I can't imagine what the entertainment industry in America would do if faced with less than one out of every 10 people in the U.S. purchasing movies legally. Of course, Hollywood is losing a lot less than China's local filmmakers, but ever when you consider that only twenty foreign films are even released in China per year, it's a pretty substantial problem for American studios. No wonder The Da Vinci Code was pulled. Everyone probably owns a copy of it already.