Thanks to Anthony T for pointing me in the direction of today's Ben Goldacre Bad Science column, which explores this week's claims that "researchers found more than a million people using a download site in ONE day and estimated that in a year they would use £120bn worth of material."
The whole thing is worth reading, but as a taste, Goldacre follows the trail to find out where the claims for "losses" come from:
What is the origin of this conservative figure? I hunted down the full Ciber documents, found the references section, and followed the web link, which led to a 2004 press release from a private legal firm called Rouse who specialise in intellectual property law. This press release was not about the £10bn figure. It was, in fact, a one-page document, which simply welcomed the government setting up an intellectual property theft strategy. In a short section headed "background", among five other points, it says: "Rights owners have estimated that last year alone counterfeiting and piracy cost the UK economy £10bn and 4,000 jobs." An industry estimate, as an aside, in a press release. Genius.