David Akin points to a recent Strategic Counsel survey (full report, executive summary) conducted on intellectual property awareness within Canada's SME community. The findings suggest that intellectual property issues rank well down on the priority list for most Canadian businesses. Most know little about IP and profess limited concern about the current framework. Indeed, 78% of respondents do not have significant concerns over intellectual property violation or infringement.
What does that say about the government's decision to prioritize copyright reform?
First, there will be no payoff from the broader Canadian business community, who is not particularly concerned with the issue. Second, it highlights just how much this issue is being driven by a small group of lobbyists (led by the U.S. government) who have urged the government to move forward with reform. If that is right, the political wager comes down to believing that Canadian business won't care about copyright reform and that Canada will garner political capital with the United States for taking action. Yet that strategy neglects to consider the risks associated with how reforms will resonate with sectors such as education and with individual Canadians. Those groups – along with the NDP and perhaps the Liberals – may be less impressed with an obvious piece of special interest legislation that does little to address the concerns of individual Canadians and the SMEs that power the Canadian economy.