The Business Software Alliance released its annual Global Piracy Study yesterday and while the study is oft-criticized on methodological grounds (Glyn Moody, my 2009 criticisms that revealed no actual surveys in Canada that year), the trend is unmistakable. According to this annual study, Canada’s piracy rate has been on a steady decline as Michael Murphy, Chairman of the BSA Canada Committee, notes “at 28 per cent, Canada’s piracy rate is at an all time low, dropping six percentage points since 2006.”
The Toronto Star runs a story on the release, complete a graphic showing Canada among the 15 lowest piracy countries in the world. Canada’s is well below the Western European average and well below the other countries on the USTR Special 301 Watch list. While the BSA notes an increase in the dollar amount, this is due almost entirely to currency fluctuations given the stronger Canadian dollar. Moreover, Joe Karaganis highlights the fact that the BSA says the top source of “software piracy” is not unauthorized versions of software but rather “overinstallation” – the installation of legal, authorized software on more than one computer.
The BSA study is only the latest data point from the industry that counters the steady stream of myths regarding the Canadian market and Canadian copyright law:
- claims that the Canadian digital market is wild west is countered by recording industry data showing that the Canadian digital music market has grown faster than the U.S. market for five consecutive years
- claims that new services avoid entering the market because of copyright law is countered by those services (such as Pandora) noting that it is pricey licensing demands, not copyright laws, that are the chief barrier
- claims that Canada does not have laws to deal with so-called piracy sites is countered by the recording industry’s own lawsuit against isoHunt that seeks millions in damages using current copyright law
- claims that Canada is a haven for movie piracy is countered by the CMPDA, which has acknowledged the significant decline in the practice in Canada in recent years
- claims that notice-and-notice is ineffective as an approach to ISP liability is countered by data from the ISPs, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, and by the CMPDA’s own discussions with the U.S.