The Absurdity of the USTR’s Blame Canada Approach

The IIPA, the lead U.S. lobbyist on international IP matters, has issued a press release on the USTR Special 301 report, welcoming the inclusion of Canada on the Priority Watch List.  Yet the release inadvertently demonstrates why the designation is so absurd.  Included at the end are the estimated software piracy percentages for each country on the list.  While the BSA claims are themselves subject to challenge, compare Canada to the remainder of the list.  Canada comes in at 32%.  The remaining countries (no rates are listed for Algeria, Israel, or Venezuela):

Country BSA Claimed Piracy Rate
Argentina 75%
Chile 66%
India 66%
Indonesia 86%
Pakistan 85%
China 79%
Russia 70%
Thailand 76%

Not only is Canada not even remotely close to any other country on the list, it has the lowest software piracy rate of any of the 46 countries in the entire Special 301 Report.  Moreover, it is compliant with its international IP obligations, participates in ACTA, has prosecuted illegal camcording, has the RCMP prioritizing IP matters, has statutory damages provisions, features far more copyright collectives than the U.S., and has a more restrictive fair dealing/fair use provision.


  1. United Hackers Association says:

    absudrity is posting here to have it rmeoved
    THOSE stats are form whom?
    Also we totally believe the BSA now eh?

    Time to call anyone trying to bribe the MP’s in this country that do not live here traitors they are.

    GO ahead HArper try bringing bill c61 revised again.

    Obama + Biden = FORBIDEN

  2. United Hackers Association says:

    hres the future suing people that can hardly move

    the CEI is a canadian that needs to get his crap togther cause ya know what HE SUCKS, he will let his kid pirate and slap em on the wrist and yet do the above to a stroke victim ?

    THATS the future people of there WERE NOT SUING CAMPAIGN. MARCH 13th.

  3. info on that suit says:

    like for real

    They tried to say this guy was heading some large piracy operation in Michigan when he was living in Florida at the actual time. You know, paralyzed people with pension checks, always driving to Michigan to head illegal music piracy operations.

    Gawd, I hate RIAA, MPAA, WM, and pretty much anything to do with Music/Video industry. With the quality of the most of the drek they put out anyway, who needs em?

  4. John Desgagne says:

    Obama is demonstrating his hypocrisy. He wishes to advance science and technology, yet he wishes to punish intellectual providence and the liberty of freedom of information. Once people submit their materials into the world, it belongs to the world by virtue human rights. Until western society accepts that discovering/composing something does not give you exclusive “property” rights, we will all be citizens awaiting evolutionary cycles of history. drone.

  5. Pot – kettle
    What I would love to see is what is the rate as applied to the states themselves even with all the criminalization going on down south!

  6. Tony Toews says:

    Pot – kettle 2
    Al took the words right out of my keyboard. What are those equivalent numbers in the USA?

  7. Tony Toews says:

    Other Countries?
    A family member living in Sri Lanka states that she is unable to purchase legitimate DVDs in Sri Lanka. And the situation is similar in other countries in the region according to other family members.

    So where is Sri Lanka on that list?

  8. MikeyBoy says:

    My concern deepens.
    Jut when I finally found a Canadian ISP that doesn’t throttle my connection when I use bittorrent LEGALLY (for stuff I made and want to distribute), which doesn’t over-charge or tie me to a ridiculous contract, and which actually has tech support people who have a clue… and now this happens.

    So, my question is – will Canada be forced by US economic pressure (bolstered by Obama’s Buy America campaign) to implement the same 1984 laws that countries like Sweden and Denmark have been forced to employ?

    I hope most of their efforts will be directed at the guys on Gerrard Street in Toronto who hawk DVD’s burnt from torrents for $2. As long as the caring sharing folks get by without a cent of profit, I’m fine.

  9. fair_n_hite_451 says:

    From the BSA’s own website
    “Canada remains among the top 20 countries with the lowest software piracy rates globally,”

    So, there you go. The BSA – who’s numbers form the basis for the report being commented on – agree that we’re one of the good guys. However, that doesn’t fit with the “let’s use any excuse to advance our agenda” crowd in the music and movie industries … who interestingly enough provide no data on Canada to the report (more on that in a moment) … conveniently use the report as a platform for gaining a moment in the sun with the media.

    It is absurd. But it works because media laps up press releases that are handed to them – since they can run them with no background research … thereby enhancing their profit margins.

    Back to the lack of data on Canada in the report. I find it suspicious that there is no data available on “their biggest trading partner” for music and movies included in the report. Could it be that because the fact that our industry is thriving despite their constant harping about “piracy being the end of the world as we know it” (heh. I claim fair use!) they lose that data so it doesn’t give the lie to their claims of money gone up in smoke? I think so. I think so very much.

    The fact of the matter is, whenever a lobbyist or special interest group opens their mouths – be it IIPA, MADD, Family First … whoever – the actual truth of the matter is the very first casualty.

  10. fair_n_hite_451 says:

    forgo to add
    The US rate of software piracy, according to the BSA, is at 20% and holding. Not sure I buy that, but it could be true.

    Canada’s rate is falling (from 34% to 33%).

    Aren’t we therefore doing better in terms of improving the situation? Again, where is the logic to adding us to the Priority Watch List? There is none … it is all for effect in terms of manipulating the media and the Canadian political system.

  11. Yo Ma Ma says:

    The recent appointment of former RIAA lawyers to the U.S. Justice Dept. is the tip of a much bigger iceberg – it is infiltration of governmant policy by venal business interests once again …

  12. The statistics quoted are misleading. For one, they’re of dubious quality to begin with (the methodology the BSA uses is flawed). But more importantly – the USTR placed Canada on the priority watchlist based on all types of piracy – not just of software. And Canada certainly does have a problem with piracy. Not necessarily a statutory problem (although our laws do need updating – with consumers’ interests in mind), but an enforcement problem.

    There are numerous stores (I will not name them, because doing so would only be publicity) which *openly* sell pirated movies. Some of these stores occasionally get raided by police, but they are back in “business” merely days later. Clearly, these people are not being punished adequately to deter them. Given that our Copyright Act says:
    “Every person who knowingly … makes for sale or rental an infringing copy of a work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists, … is guilty of an offence and liable … on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding one million dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.” (Copyright Act 42.(1))

    The available remedies are (for reasons unknown to me) not being sought to deal with this problem.

  13. Keep the Faith
    Congratulations, Canada! Any enemy of the RIAA, MPAA, and the rest of the information restriction MAFIAA is a friend of mine!

    Wear that badge with honor!

  14. newspeak
    ” . . . the liberty of freedom of information . . .”


    Too, too precious.

    The development of the easy-to-carry handgun as robbery’s threat of choice transformed everything in my pocket into community property?

    No. It simply made theft easier.

    The electronic lock pick gave me a moral right to take your stuff from your locked house?

    Nope. An empowered thief remains a thief.

    But, what a convenient philosophy! How about “the liberty of freedom of BMW’s”?

    As in “please, get out of the car. Yes, sir, right now. No, no, just leave the keys in the ignition. Thank you.”

    The day that all of my years of effort of learning and practicing and practicing and starting and running the bands and breaking them up and practicing and writing and practicing – the day the fruits of all of that effort are ruled to belong to the leeches like John as much as they belong to me is the last day the leeches like John will ever hear music again.

  15. Dumbed-down arguments
    I am sick of constantly seeing the debate being dumbed down to one side shouting “everything should be free for everyone” and the other shouting “keep your dirty hands off our precious property”. I like to think that most people in the world are in fact not morons, and that progress in a debate is only ever made by allowing nuances. There are probably ways to make money on content without large corporations acting as distributors. There is probably content that needs to be paid for if it is ever going to be made. Could we please see some real arguments from either side and see some actual ideas, instead of just bickering?

    I know, public debate (particularly in the US, but not only there) assumes that everybody is a moron who couldn’t follow an argument unless it’s turned into a 10-second sound bite without any greater depth, but this is in fact insulting to the entire human race. Most people are not morons, they are just being spoon fed with far too simple arguments from both sides.

    (And on a related note, I really want a pony.)

  16. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t do it
    Unfortunately, there is a reason public debate (not only) in the US assumes everyone is a moron, and the reason is that it works, and they win… It has always troubled me how politics have degraded to trying to guess people’s prejudices and then manipulate and take advantage of those prejudices. The biggest reason this troubles me is because it works.