A scholarly report funded by the Canadian government and the Ford Foundation investigates the alleged link between copyright infringement and terrorism and finds none. Basically, counterfeiters can't compete with free, and so there's no money in it. A 2009 MPAA-funded Rand Corporation report suggested that selling pirate DVDs was a better deal than trafficking smack. They're wrong.
One of its intriguing findings is that even the commercial pirates have it tough these days. Piracy made money back when optical disc stampers were scarce and expensive; it became less lucrative when CD and DVD burners became commodity items. Today, under pressure from P2P distribution, optical disc piracy in wealthy countries is "all but eliminated" and profit margins elsewhere are slim.
"Increasingly, commercial pirates face the same dilemma as the legal industry," says the report, "how to compete with free."