There's a brand new study being pushed at the moment which suggests that there's no evidence that Torrent piracy affects US Box Office returns. In addition the only discernible link found in this paper published by the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College was in potential sales cut down by users downloading films in the time between their US and international release. What these two points suggest is that if BitTorrent were the only way people were able to download movies, it would essentially be solely on the shoulders of the film industry to change their ways to stopper up piracy, not any type of government-made law.
The 28-page report comes from Brett Danaher, Department of Economics at Wellesley College, and Joel Waldfogel, Department of Economics at University of Minnesota and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Carlson School of Management, Twin Cities. These two fellows have published the paper Reel Piracy: The Effect of Online Film Piracy on International Box Office Sales, 28 pages of research concluding in the idea that for this sect of the piracy universe, right here with Torrents specifically, the following is true:
Our findings indicate that, as a lower bound, international box office returns in our sample were at least 7% lower than they would have been in the absence of pre-release piracy. By contrast, we do not see evidence of elevated sales displacement in US box office revenue following the adoption of BitTorrent, and we suggest that delayed legal availability of the content abroad may drive the losses to piracy.
Torrents are a popular way for download files using the hosting power of multiple servers rather than just one - its rise to popularity also saw a massive new following of pirates across the earth just a few short years ago. The recent Megaupload shutdown was tied to Torrents only in the idea that they both had the potential for piracy. Instead the most popular Torrent-based website you may have heard of is the Pirate Bay, recently noted for their 3D modeling downloads and their newfound ability to have users download their whole site in a small file.
So as always, it's up to you to decide what's best for the film industry. The war rages on, and we'll continue to let you know the biggest bits in the battles as they occur!