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Low Latency No. 22: What piracy?

Does a $200 million weekend box office opening still mean piracy is ruining the film industry?

Blake Stevenson

In 2005 the MPAA estimated that roughly $3 billion a year is lost to Internet movie piracy. Since 2005, there have been five films that have broken a previous opening weekend box office record. Most recently, of course, is this past weekend's $200.3 million blockbuster, "The Avengers." Not only did the film shatter the previous weekend opening record, but it do so with a pirated copy of the film in circulation an entire week before it hit theaters. What's even more impressive? The new record is also the biggest jump in revenue, dethroning 2011's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" by more than $30 million.

All this has us wondering what exactly the MPAA is talking about when they say Internet piracy is destroying the film industry. It's tough to feel remorse with box office turnouts like this past weekend, and also when we read reports that claim there is no relationship between piracy and U.S. box office returns. So when the movie industry does complain about shoddy theater attendance perhaps they should be pointing the finger elsewhere.

Low Latency is a weekly comic on CNET's Crave blog written by CNET editor and podcast host Jeff Bakalar and illustrated by Blake Stevenson. Be sure to check Crave every Thursday at 8 a.m. PT for new panels! Want more? Here's every Low Latency comic so far.