Conference Board Recalls All Three IP Reports

The Conference Board of Canada has just announced that it is recalling all three IP reports that it issued last week.  It says that "an internal review has determined that these reports did not follow the high quality research standards of The Conference Board of Canada."

Update: Jesse Brown interviewed Anne Golden, CEO of the Conference Board of Canada.  Golden admits that the digital economy report was plagiarized.

Update II: Media coverage of the Conference Board pulling the reports from the CBC, Vancouver Sun, Montreal Gazette, Macleans, Mediacaster, Techdirt, and the Georgia Straight.


  1. Andrew Butash says:

    Score one for the good guys! That is, of course, the only proper course of action. Keep up the great work, Professor! You’re a true digital freedom fighter.

  2. Excellent work!
    Prof. Geist,

    Let me offer you my congratulations on ferreting out this travesty and sending the perpetrators back to their drawing board. Keep up the good work and continue to fight the good fight.

  3. phew! It’s a good thing they do those internal reviews!

    Thank you for looking out for us Dr. Geist!

  4. good news!
    Well this is definitely good news! while it’s a proper course of action, the damage has been done. i will never trust anything they release!

  5. Thank you! Congratulations to the Conference Board of Canada for finally doing the right thing, also.

  6. TJeffersonFTW says:

    Canadians aren’t pushovers apparently. Mr. Geist, thank-you.

  7. Xetheriel says:

    Internal review?

    Had these reports been subject to “Internal Review”, they never would have been released.

    What they really meant to say was: “We look like money grabbing hypocritical lobby group puppets and need to do some damage control before our reputation is permanently scarred.”

    Yeah… thats what they *really* meant to say.

    I work at a company where all externally released documents are subject to internal review. That means that before the document can be released, at least 2 other people are required to review the document and sign off on it before it is released. The author and reviewers names are on the cover, and their signatures are captured and stored in a tracking system to show that they approved the documents. *Thats* an internal review process.

    To say that the Conf. Board of Canada did an internal review? Thats utterly laughable.

    Good work Mr. Geist for spotting this and stepping on it very early.


  8. So will they be returning the $15,000 then?

  9. Review Committee
    Lets not forget that they had all week to review this propaganda and yesterday reported to the media that they stand by their conclusions.
    Refer to:

    There was a review alright. A review to toss out Prof. DeBeers conclusions and a review to rubber stamp this, and a review to go to the press and stand by it, and a review to toss in US rhetoric propaganda into the report.

    Don’t be fooled by more propaganda. It has been reviewed over and over.

  10. Ed Reddy, MBA says:

    Interesting development
    I guess they were not interest in arguing ‘Fair Use’ and just citate the source they used it from. Does this show that the Conference Board also violated its founding principles of unbiased reasearch?

    Someone should be held accountable for this. But I would rather the CBoC finger the source of funds paid for the study.

  11. Darryl Moore says:

    Gee, this is going to put a big hole in their conference tomorrow.

    I wonder how they will fill it.

  12. David Collier-Brown says:

    Anne Golden appears to listen
    I and others have suggested she sack the perpetrators: thus far
    she’s removed the plagiarized material. I’ll be interested to see if she removes the authors, too.


  13. Many thanks!

    The Canadian public cannot thank you enough for your courage to out this travesty, and the will to stand behind it.

    The US lobby groups seem to be increasing pressure on Canada for more and more control in our government.

    Thanks for helping to keep us sovereign!

    (Hopefully someone in Parliament will now know that these reports are actually fabricated, but I suspect that these “findings” will still be used and believed by those under sway of these lobby groups).

  14. Sal67284 says:

    Thank you once again Dr. Geist for standing up for all Canadians, where our government routinely let’s us down.

    A review is fine, but I notice it didn’t stop Gilles Rheaume (Vice-president of public policy at the Conference Board) from dropping this gem to the media.

    “We are the illegal file swapping country of the world – the leading country, when you look at Canada compared to other OECD countries.”

    “It is certainly an issue when we deal with Americans; it is something that is a sore point for them.”

  15. Kinda hate to be a “me too” guy
    But, thank you so much, Michael Geist!

  16. Crockett says:

    Maybe the government should just hire you to review all their IP related documents before they go out and avoid the bad press! 😉

  17. Impressed New Reader says:

    Nicely done MG, score one for the good guys.

  18. They should review the process by which they decided to publicly defend the defective reports.

    BTW, I think linking to twitter posts is just silly. They provide litterally no additional information. Michael Giest wrote: “Jesse Brown interviewed Anne Golden, CEO of the Conference Board of Canada. Golden admits that the digital economy report was plagiarized.” and linked to Brown’s tweet, ” Just interviewed Annne Golden, CEO of Conference Board of Canada. Says file sharing report WAS plagiarized. Internal review to come.” Oh, wow, way informative. Well worth a link…

  19. Thank you.

  20. Beastlyone says:

    Scote: Think about that for a second: you are complaining about a link back to the source of the quotation?

  21. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who complained that her son had a heck of a time with a university paper because on several occasions certain words were put in a sequence that the professor called it a plagiarized piece of work, and the paper was marked as “0”. He fought the university and professor to no avail.

    Here, we have 3 documents that appear to be copies of another work. They MUST suffer the same fate as this student’s paper, absolutely no questions asked.

    The only reason the recording industries are so hot and heavy into copyright is strictly GREED. The artist for all intents and purpose gets the shaft.

    It’s time these RIA’s be ignored for the good of everybody.

    Great find. Kudos.

  22. “Beastlyone said:

    Scote: Think about that for a second: you are complaining about a link back to the source of the quotation?”

    Yes. I don’t actually object to proving a source, of course. It is my bias against Tiwtter. Usually following a link results in *more* information. Following a link to a Tweet usually does not. I find that annoying, though I won’t say that is anything other than my personal annoyance.

  23. Krevin Spriess says:

    Nice work
    Win for the gipper! Hats off to your motivations , Dr. Geist.

  24. Links please.
    Are the 3 reports offline now? If not can someone post the links to the 3 reports please (sorry if they are already listed and I didn’t see them)?

    If they are gone, can someone upload them some place where I can download them? Wikileaks or P2P, if need be.

    -Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Economy;
    -National Innovation Performance and Intellectual Property Rights: A Comparative Analysis;
    -and Intellectual Property Rights—Creating Value and Stimulating Investment.


  25. Revnant Dream says:

    Citizen Journalism
    Nice scoop. Keep up the pressure. Its a fact the MSM won’t, if not even mentioning it.
    After all there in the same buisness & getting paid for it as well. Nice to see people with Ethics & not an agenda take up the slack of reporting the truth. Keep punching.

  26. Well Done.
    Special interests (read this as business model protectionists) have this interesting way of perverting both truth and reality to their own ends. You have brilliantly demonstrated they can be countered. You inspire confidence that truth, public opinion and public good are still are still alive, kicking and newly energized.


  27. Media Pirate says:

    Montreal Gazette
    In the media

    On Tuesday, the Conference Board had defended the report, saying only one citation was missing, and that it was corrected.

    But an internal review found that Geist’s charges were correct, Golden said.

    “I want to make it clear that I’m not responding to Geist,” she clarified. “We recalled the reports when we found out that all three reports didn’t go through our process.

    “It’s the first time I had to do this in my eight years as president, over which 1,400 reports were published.”


    LOL (Just in case Golden reads this, LOL means Laughing Out Loud)

    I now question the 1,400 reports that were published.

  28. Proud Canadian says:

    Just wanted to write to thank you for all of your hard work Dr. Geist. You are truly a Canadian treasure. Your hard work and dedication is noticed by Canadian across this great nation. Keep up the great work!

  29. Media Pirate says:

    Globe & Mail plus Montreal Gazette again
    Globe and Mail (The title cracks me up):

    “Think tank’s approach to Hollywood: Copy that”


    The Conference Board of Canada said it recalled the reports Thursday after an internal investigation showed that they relied too heavily on – and included entire paragraphs lifted from – a document produced by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA).

    As a result, the IIPA and Conference Board reports were similarly critical of Canada’s failure to update its copyright legislation and ratify international intellectual property treaties. The two reports proposed the same solutions for the role Internet service providers should play in combatting piracy, and they both suggested harsher penalties for anyone found to be operating services that allow free sharing of files.

    The IIPA is one of a number of international lobby groups putting pressure on Ottawa to update the Copyright Act………


    New Montreal Gazette Article

    Conference Board recalls reports on intellectual property

    Adding fuel to the controversy was the fact that the report was funded by other copyright lobby groups, like the U.S. and the Canadian chambers of commerce, the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network and the Copyright Collective of Canada, which represents U.S. film producers and distributors.

    Funding also came from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

    “This has raised some real questions about the truthfulness of the claims we keep seeing,” Geist said.

    “There’s an ongoing attempt to paint Canada as a piracy haven. It’s not true. It’s based on fabricated numbers and plagiarized reports.”

    Golden said the report’s lead researcher and the supervisor were on contract, and are no longer working for the board.

    Geist also took exception to a report by the Business Software Alliance, which said 32 per cent of software in Canada is pirated. Geist claims this number was based on “guesses,” since Canada was not actually surveyed by IDC, the BSA’s research firm.

    An explanation of IDC’s methodology says that “low-piracy countries” are not included in surveys.

    “These numbers have no credibility anymore,” Geist said. “They’re there just to embarrass us into reforms that aren’t in our interest.”

    Jesse Feder, the BSA’s director of international trade and IP, conceded Canada was not surveyed, but added that the survey is but one of 43 variables that goes into the piracy study.

    +1 Montreal Gazette.

    Now about those 43 variables… What are they?

  30. Thank you
    Thank you Dr. Geist for this and all your hard work.

  31. thank you! says:

    Thank you!
    Hats off to you Dr. Geist for your accomplishments! You serve as a great example to the rest of us.

  32. C. Martens says:

    Great work! Congrats!
    I will echo Mr. Knopf’s wonderful support of your own and Prof. de Beer’s good work in relation to this story. If it hadn’t been for your detailed analysis showing the clear plagiarism from such poor sources, the Board’s powerful pulpit would have been another nail in the fair-copyright coffin.

    Now if we could only get the CRTC to push back at Bell, Rogers et al in their attack on Internet users…

  33. TropicalCoder says:

    Letter to Conference Board of Canada
    On the Conference Board of Canada web site, under the retraction, they provide a contact link. I clicked on that link and gave them my thoughts as pasted below…

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    After almost selling Canada out to US interests via your plagiarized reports on intellectual property, I would strongly suggest that you contract Prof. Michael Geist or at least work closely with him in the next effort. Michael is well known, extremely knowledgeable on the subject, and trusted by a large number of Canadians. Only in this way will you regain the prestige you once had.


  34. Awesome Work Dr. Geist
    Keep it up! Kudos on Anne Golden for actually retracting the articles and admitting the mistake.

  35. Great! But…
    …rather then waiting to expose all the countless attempts of US lobby groups to influence, manipulate govs and ppl all over the world (Canada, Europe, Australia etc.)
    All non US cultures should formulate a clear position based on their traditions. NOW.
    The big world doesn’t need to adapt to the likings of the small US…

  36. USA influencing canadian politicians is treason says:

    USA influencing canadian politicians = treason
    AND what did i say abou tlobbying as a form of treason when its done by a foreign country?

    WHEN will you all get it through your skulls these people that lobby for IP rights from the USA are making traitors of those they deal with.

    If you are dealing with them to better them and not your own people , that is treason.

    What is the punishment for treason in Canada?

  37. pat donovan says:

    a’tago, mike…

    NOW to stop the rest of this nonsense.. (the supreme court’s biz-methods, ie)


  38. Thank you!
    Thank you Michael Geist, your work rewards us all!

  39. Rob Scott says:

    What a great job by Michael Geist, first for recognizing the plagiarism and the falsehoods, and then for keeping up the pressure forcing the CBofC to recall the tainted document. Thank you. Congratulations also to the CBoC that, after a few days of denials, eventually took the high road and admitted the problems. Hopefully, this will be an isolated incident, but I bet those with access to plagiarism detection software will be trolling the archives looking for more.

    I think it is a pity that all institutions that are discovered to have plagiarized cannot hold themselves to the same honorable standard.

  40. Jeff Brown says:

    Thanks for all your hard work!

  41. Given the flip-flopping, what has happened over the past 2 weeks has clearly shown that there is a significant management problem with the Conference Board of Canada. This recent scandal has undoubtedly damaged its reputation, esp. with the general public and government agencies. Reputation is what sells for these research/think tank-type of organization. The consequence is that the long-term viability of the Conference Board of Canada is questionable.

    Plagiarism is a very serious offence that should not be taken lightly. It’s not good enough to apologize and move on.

  42. Thank you!
    Great work! Thanks again
    We need more people like you!

  43. Bob Wilson says:

    You’re collecting some powerful enemies Michael
    What with the comments in the released ACTA documents, and now this astounding victory. You Sir, are a true patriot.

    I just wish the same could be said of the cowards in Ottawa who hide behind comments such as “It is certainly an issue when we deal with Americans; it is something that is a sore point for them.”

  44. Maynard G. Krebs says:

    Argrh matey!!
    Anne Golden, CEO of the Conference Board of Canada, admits that the digital economy report was plagiarized.

    In keeping with the spirit of the report, she should have said that portions of the report were ‘pirated’.

    Seems to me that the Conference Board of Canada ought to be hoisted on the same charges that anyone creating a ‘mashup’ would be by the XXPA-tards. It’s only fitting.

  45. Saul Arias says:

    Thanks professor Geist!

  46. I have all the answers
    3 pirated reports = 3 strikes

    Time to unplug them from the net.

    Also may as well unplug Harper for pirating C-span while we are at it.

    Shove their own medicine down their throats.

  47. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Stephen Toope responds
    I just thought I’d mention:

    When this first broke, I emailed Prof. Stephen Toope, president of UBC, to voice my concerns, as a UBC student, over the plagiarism and other issues in these reports.

    Today, I received his response.

    He pointed out the review and withdrawal of these specific reports, and added:

    “The issues raised by the release of these articles has drawn to light issues in the internal review of Conference Board articles. As a Board member, I have been assured by the President of the conference Board of Canada that this internal review process will be reviewed and revised.”

    He is aware, and has been taking appropriate action.

  48. Great work Michael! You continue to act in the best interest of us citizens. We don’t need this disgusting govt trying to fill their fat pockets at the cost of our freedoms. Keep fighting the good fight, and we’ll continue to help where we can.

  49. Congratulations Professor!
    You did it!

    Thank you Sir 🙂

  50. Canadian Artist says:

    Thank you.

  51. Fantastic that UBC Toope responds
    Congratulations to Professor Toope, UBC President and a director of the Conference Board of Canada, to respond to the (now acknowledged) allegations of plagiarism and wrongdoing. He is an honorable person and has distanced himself from the unethical activities of the Board. Now, I only wish the other Board members, particularly the other academic Board members to take a public stand on plagiarism. I call upon them to issue public statements regarding their positions on non-academic plagiarism.

  52. Berserkr says:

    I’m sure glad we have Geist on our side 🙂

  53. Curtis Cook says:

    Caught in the Conference Board’s drama
    I have waited a week for the Conference Board to remove my name from its controversial intellectual property publications. On May 27 I wrote to Anne Golden to:
    1) Remove my name as an author from the publications (since I have not worked for the Conference Board for almost a year); and
    2) Publicly acknowledge that I was not responsible for the plagiarized content.
    On June 1, I finally received a call from Anne Golden who did not address any of my concerns and abruptly ended the call by disconnecting. Here is what I know:

    •I was a full-time employee with the Conference Board between September 2007 and July 2008. I resigned almost a year ago to take a fulfilling job with a non-profit in British Columbia.
    •I submitted draft research to my former supervisor for the IP reports in mid-August 2008. I finished the research after I moved even though I was neither on salary nor on contract with the Board..
    •The research I submitted did NOT include the controversial passages or plagiarized content.
    •I worked with three contract researchers on this project between April 2008 and June 2008, including Jeremy deBeer, whose work I integrated into the draft. These researchers did not submit research that included the controversial/plagiarized content.
    •I had no involvement in any content changes and did not see these papers after I submitted them in August.
    •My new work was interrupted in mid-September by my former supervisor at the Conference Board to tell me there had been “push back” from one of the funding clients about the research and inclusion of Mr. deBeer’s contribution. I had quit almost two months earlier so this was of no concern to me.
    •Around the same time, my new work was also interrupted by a call from one of the funding clients who expressed similar concerns. Again, I informed him that I no longer had anything to do with these reports.
    •I received news of its publication on May 26, 2009, ten months after my resignation. I downloaded and read the research after I was informed of the controversy and was alarmed to see the direction it had taken.
    •I sent my letter to Anne Golden the following day.
    •The VP of Public Policy e-mailed me on May 29th to ask for my assistance in finding both researchers who could “fix” the reports, as well as external reviewers who would be impartial in reviewing the new work. His message stated that “I trust your judgment, experience and knowledge and would value your help.”

    The Conference Board wants my help to fix reports that were published 10 months after my departure. It wants me to help fix publications that were re-written (and plagiarized) months after my departure and after they discarded the research I compiled and submitted. The Conference Board asks for my help but won’t acknowledge that it was wrong to put my name on reports that bear little resemblance to the original research I submitted, were substantially reworked, and were published ten months after I resigned. After Anne Golden laid blame on contract researchers and supervisors late last week, I noticed two of the authors who still were listed on the organization’s web site were no longer on the staff list.

    I am not prepared to wait for Anne Golden to conduct the review she promises because I have a pretty good sense of what happened, even though my involvement with the Conference Board and these reports ended with the submission of credible research 10 months ago. I am curious to see if my account results in some form of backlash, if the Conference Board is prepared to dig a deeper hole for itself or if more fiction will surface.

  54. Thanks Mr. Cook…
    …for clarifying your involvement.
    Maybe you could send Dr. Geist the original draft you submitted or even publish it for a review (as it is already paid for by the ppl -naive I know-).
    In any case I wish that you can detach and clear your name/reputation from this.

    What becomes more and more obvious is that even tho the lobbyists didn’t manage to upgrade their truth with an official seal, they may have reached the second best goal by damaging the institution which could (and should) have been the strong line of defense for the interests of the Canadian ppl.

    On a side note: maybe the board is already infiltrated by moles from the lobby groups with/without knowledge. (who could/would reject “help”/”consultants” that you don’t have to pay for?)
    I wouldn’t be surprised…

  55. bettydoe says:

    what about new york office that ceo is a thief him and the cfo take money from the company for their million dollar apts in nyc, fire people and say they only want white people working there. someone should check this out. irs should check out their books

  56. Firstly, the Conference Board is not part government. It’s a private company. However it has CHARITABLE and NON-PROFIT status! This is absolutely ridiculous as they act as neither. That should be reviewed or revoked. As for research – it has certainly of poor quality and less sound and than in the past. The main reason I think is that they have a revolving door of employees and files get thrown around between less experienced researchers to save money. Too bad.