Copyright and Canada’s Small and Medium Sized Businesses

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.


  1. So we’re screwed, then
    The laws that are supposedly the lifeblood of an information economy are under the purvey of the same minister who’s job it is to make sure everyone has a little paper flag on Canada Day, and they lose more sleep over the flags. All the major news outlets will cover changes to the copyright law with their “entertainment” correspondent. Its pathological how little people care.

  2. A whole country started a war based on a lie. Copyright reform is a minority subject compared with the devastation of a war. It seems like we are evolving right into a “tampered” information age and the depressing thing is that the majority of us doesn’t care. As a community of “sleep walkers” we are buying all those lies without even noticing. We are doomed.

  3. Edward Palonek says:

    Palonek writes:
    I think those eduacted will use other means of hiding their identity for privacy, those who do not will be more exposed to fraud. Identity fraud is rising as it is becoming easier. The government make laws that make identity related issues become a real problem. “.. Forest from the tree..”
    Thank you

    Edward Palonek via

  4. Jonathan Bailey says:

    I’m not trying to say that the reforms in Canada are a good thing or that the prioritization of copyright reform is positive, but I have to wonder if the fact copyright and IP issues rank so low for small businesses is an issue of ignorance on their part.

    Be it as a consumer or producer of IP, these issues should rank at least a decent way up if one is fully aware of what is at stake.

    In the end, I have to agree with Nedbeard, it is disconcerting how little people care about these issues.