Now Toronto has a critical article on the Conference Board of Canada and the "cut and paste" caper, noting that the organization has refused to respond to many of its questions. Meanwhile, Gillian Shaw of the Vancouver Sun covers the BSA's Canadian statistics with the headline "is that a pirate […]
Archive for May, 2009
Appeared in the Toronto Star on May 25, 2009 as Two Clicks and You're Out, Panel Rules Appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on May 26, 2009 as System of Business Method Patents Could Face Rough Ride Most people think of patents in terms of legal protection for new technological inventions. […]
As part of the attempt to characterize Canada as a "piracy haven," the Business Software Alliance's annual Global Piracy Report plays a lead role. The Conference Board of Canada references the findings, as do their funders in their reports on the state of Canadian intellectual property laws (Chamber of Commerce, CACN). Moreover, the report always generates considerable media interest, with coverage this year in the Globe and Mail and Canwest papers. For example, the Globe cited the data directly in the Download Decade series stating that "about 32 per cent of the computer software in Canada is pirated, contributing to losses of $1.2-billion (U.S.) in 2008 alone, according to a report from the Business Software Alliance."
This year the BSA reported that Canada declined from 33 to 32 percent. Michael Murphy, chair of the BSA Canada Committee claimed that "despite the slight decline, Canada’s software piracy rate is nowhere near where it should be compared to other advanced economy countries. We stand a better chance of reducing it significantly with stronger copyright legislation that strikes the appropriate balance between the rights of consumers and copyright holders."
Yet what the BSA did not disclose is that the 2009 report on Canada were guesses since Canadian firms and users were not surveyed. While the study makes seemingly authoritative claims about the state of Canadian piracy, the reality is that IDC, which conducts the study for BSA, did not bother to survey in Canada. After learning that Sweden was also not surveyed, I asked the Canadian BSA media contact about the approach in Canada. They replied that Canada was not included in the survey portion of the study, explaining that:
The Conference Board of Canada's Digital Economy report makes the front page once again as the Ottawa Citizen runs a second major story on the questions raised by its report. Following on yesterday's front page story on plagiarism concerns, the paper today reports on the Conference Board's decision to ignore […]
As the media coverage of the Conference Board's Digital Economy report continues (CBC, Mediacaster), a new revelation has emerged. The Conference Board of Canada's defence included the following statement:
In the course of the research, the authors reviewed the full spectrum of arguments surrounding the issue of intellectual property rights in Canada. The final report includes those arguments considered most relevant to the policy under review.
A review of the report finds that the only arguments that the Conference Board seems to have adopted come directly from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, since it is their work (and words) that are recycled repeatedly in the report. What the Conference Board does not mention in its defence (nor in the report) is that it actually commissioned a study on the copyright issues from an independent Canadian legal expert. That report was completed by Professor Jeremy deBeer, a colleague at the University of Ottawa and frequent contributor to the Globe and Mail on copyright matters.
Professor deBeer has just revealed his involvement and posted a working paper based on his report submitted to the Conference Board of Canada. It turns out the deBeer was precluded from using the work for 12 months, a period that concluded today. It is immediately apparent that the deBeer paper arrived at very different conclusions from the IIPA and the Conference Board. In particular, it recommends: