While the inability to assess economic harm seems to be the sweeping conclusion, the 32-page report does explore the negative aspects of both piracy and counterfeiting by discussing the obvious and non-obvious costs associated with IP crime. The GAO details that recent estimates show 20% of all business software is pirated and adds that the movie industry lost $6.1 billion in 2005, but also goes on to question those figures citing that data was merely collected through surveys and often times done so with a narrow scope.
It would seem obvious that piracy has a negative impact, and the document leaves little doubt the problem is rampant. But exactly how bad is it? If the GAO's study is any indication, we have a long way to go before meaningful numbers can be produced.