Canada Leads U.S. in International Property Rights Index

Barry Sookman tweeted yesterday about a new study analyzing data on 125 countries to establish a property rights index.  The Index focuses on three areas: Legal and Political Environment, Physical Property Rights, and Intellectual Property Rights, and is being to used to promote the importance of intellectual property.  Looking at the data, Canada's overall ranking is ahead of the U.S. (Canada is 12th, the U.S. is 15th).

The specific intellectual property rankings are also notable as they highlight the absurdity of the IIPA's ongoing campaign characterizing Canada as weak on IP.  Canada's ranks 13th in the survey for intellectual property rights, tied with countries such as France, the UK, and New Zealand (Canada is 17th in copyright protection).  The ranking is all the more remarkable since one of the primary data sources for the ranking is the IIPA itself.  In other words, even after using IIPA data, Canada ranks alongside many other countries that are typically applauded by the IIPA for their IP policies.

In fact, the IIPA recommended ten countries for inclusion on the USTR Special 301 Priority Watch List: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Mexico, People’s Republic of China, the Philippines and Russia.  The ranks of these countries in this study for IP protection are all well below Canada's 13th:

  • Argentina – 67
  • Chile – 49
  • Costa Rica – 67
  • India – 50
  • Indonesia – 108
  • Mexico – 59
  • China – 63
  • Philippines – 63
  • Russia – 72

The attempt to characterize Canada as a laggard in the class with countries like China and Russia – alongside claims that supporting open source software makes a country weak on IP – are just some of the reasons the IIPA claims have been roundly criticized by many countries in the past.  It is also why the CCIA's submission, which rightly notes that Canada that meets the adequate and effective standard, is the more credible assessment of the current state of the law.


  1. Ha
    It’s truly laughable that they can rate us so high and condemn us of the same hand. It makes one wonder why their little report has any credibility at all? *There’s a gap of nearly 50 rankings between us and these countries* – Are people really so uneducated not to realize the implications of what that means?

  2. Credibility, like beauty…
    is in the eye of the beholder. I’d be careful about making an assessment of credibility from any lobby group/industry association. Each has their own agenda. Both the IIPA and CCIA are such groups, and therefore I treat the assessments from both with some suspicion; for the IIPA they want Canada to come up with a more Draconian set of laws, therefore they will characterize Canadian laws unfavorably. The CCIA, on the other hand, wants Canada to have more open laws; it is therefore in their interest to characterize Canadian laws favorably. There is an incentive for both to exaggerate the state of our regime. I suspect that we are somewhere in the middle, stronger in some areas but weaker in others. As well, in general the IIPA and CCIA represent different IP sectors. The IIPA generally represents the entertainment industry, whereas the CCIA is the IT industry. These groups have different desires out of IP and this colours their assessments accordingly.

    Personally, I’d prefer to see an independent evaluation from a disinterested third party. Ideally this evaluation would cover the application of IP across a number of sectors, rather than treating it as a homogeneous, monolithic entity.

  3. respond this post
    I don’t think that each single student in whole world has a passion of argumentative essay accomplishing! Nevertheless, students that do not like writing should take an assistance of great custom writing service and enjoy a success.

  4. Does this mean the USA should be put on the priority watch list?
    After all, if Canada’s IP enforcement laws are lax enough to need special treatment, shouldn’t that also apply to any country with laws even laxer than Canada’s?

  5. James Gannon says:

    If you actually read the report…
    …you may notice that the only thing it actually says about Canadian IP law is:

    “The IPR scores have remained relatively unchanged for the last four years. Copyright piracy levels continued to be somewhat high for a well developed country – estimated at an average of 33 percent. As a result, the country was added to the “priority watch list” by the U.S. Trade Representative. Moreover, reflective of the lack of progress
    with respect to IPR protection is the fact that expert option on protection of intellectual property rights has deteriorated since 2009.”

  6. Michael Geist says:

    I did read the report
    Similar comments were made of lots of countries – Belgium, Finland, Germany, and the UK to name four. The point is that the data doesn’t support the commentary.


  7. James Gannon says:

    The data does seem to support the assertions; it quotes piracy rates around 25-27% for those countries and 33% for Canada. I just find it very disheartening when one after the other of these international reports immediately associates Canada with copyright piracy.

  8. Michael Geist says:

    The Source of the Association

    The data led Canada to a rank equal to France, the UK, and New Zealand and nowhere near the other countries cited by the IIPA. As for the immediate association to copyright piracy, that has far more to do with your clients’ continued campaign to paint Canada in that fashion that it does with the facts.


  9. Indonesia deserves Special 301 for recommending Open Source Software
    Another interesting assertion purportedly by the IIPA..

    And I tried to reach the source material at:

    But it looks like that site is heavily overloaded. I couldn’t reach it for verification.

  10. I am also disheartened by the number of reports that immediately associate Canada with copyright policy. I mean really, who do they get to look into this stuff? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell we don’t have legal corporations based on copyright infringment or rampant sale of “pirated” material. Most anyone who works here knows that our companies are audited to ensure they are licensed properly. What do they base this stuff on? No company I have worked for has ever been willing to run the risk of running unlicensed software. We know the government will shut down sites that are found to be hubs for copyright infringment… because they have.
    Do they really think we have that many more kids listening to illegit music and movies and post more junk on youtube here than they have everywhere else? At least we have media levies to help cover some of it.

    So far, I haven’t seen any report that satisfactorily back up the claims they keep making. It’s more than disheartening.. It’s downright insulting.

  11. @crade
    Remember, if the source the IIPA is using for their stats is the BSA, the BSA doesn’t actually measure illegal copies in all countries that they are reporting on. They do some measurement in some countries and “extrapolate” the results to cover other countries. Thus, the whole process is ripe for poor assumptions at best and creative statistics at its worst.

    Part of the issue is what the BSA calls an illegal copy of the software. For instance, let’s say that my desktop at work has a copy of a piece of licensed software. My PC gets replaced due to an upgrade, the software gets installed on the new one, and the IT guys give my old one to someone else who doesn’t use the package, but forgets to remove the licensed software. According to the BSA, one of them is an illegal copy. In reality it is a grey area; it would definitely be illegal if the other person used it, but if they never start the software did the publisher lose a sale?

  12. On a side note…
    I find it interesting/funny that Saudi Arabia (ranked 41 in the study) was just removed from the Special 301 (“Plain”) Watch List yesterday after an out-of-cycle review:

    It would be no surprise to me if these Watch Lists are being made mostly for political reasons. On the one hand, putting a country on a Watch List is not a trade sanction (although a few feathers will get ruffled), but on the other hand, the US government can point to them to pressure countries AND at the same time it probably keeps the lobbyists within the country at least somewhat happy. But in the end, the Watch Lists boil down to just being talk in my opinion. I’m glad the House of Commons doesn’t think too much about being on the Priority Watch List.

  13. strunk&white says:

    Is a 33% piracy rate NOT a bad thing?

  14. Captain Hook says:

    Oh sure, I think I’ve heard some people suggest as much before. So perhaps it is.

    Do you have a point you are trying to make with that question whitey?

  15. strunk&white says:

    Was that an answer to my question? I thought you were ignoring me.

  16. Captain Hook says:

    And I thought you had were still waiting for Geist over on the other thread. Got tired finally?

    I know you’re just itching for a brawl. Why else would pose such a leading question within this thread?

    So why don’t you just identify what relivance your question has to the discussion within this thread and we’ll get on with it.

  17. strunk&white says:

    I can wait and ask questions at the same time. It’s an absolute must around here, since some answers never seem to show up. Like why does a fearsome pirate who vows never to speak to me again respond to each and every one of my comments like an iron shaving responds to a magnet? One of the great ponderables of the universe. Dance, puppet, dance.

    Geist and Gannon had a quick exchange that mentioned a 33% piracy rate. Geist dismissed Gannon without commenting on the actual relative goodness or badness of 33% piracy. I think a question about that relative goodness or badness is very relevant to the conversation.

    I mean, we all agree that piracy is wrong, don’t we? He asked the dress-up pirate.

  18. Captain Hook says:

    You’re very good at misinterpreting everything you read. I guess that is what makes you such a good troll. You know, like when when you see a draft ministerial briefing note and conclude Geist is having secret meetings with ministers; or when Geist suggests the ED of a collective organization would be a lobbyist and you think he is talking about you (Do you secretly want your old job back?); or when I say I’m not going to wait around with you in the other thread for Geist to respond to your blatherings, you think that is a vow never to respond to anything you write again.

    WRT a 33% piracy rate. If you are implying that this is a valid reason to put Canada on the 301 priority watch list when all the other members are around 50% or higher, then should that not mean that just about everyone should also be there? We have one of the lowest piracy rates then any country mentioned in this report.

    So in that context what exactly is the relevance of a 33% piracy rate to the issue of whether we belong on the special watch list or not? That was the point that Gannon was trying to make wasn’t it? There is no need to comment on the goodness or badness of this piracy rate in order to dismiss his comment. Is there?

    Are you capable of being anything other than a troll?

  19. strunk&white says:

    Where do you stand on all this Hook? Am I a troll, am I implying something more than the question I’ve asked? Have I misinterpreted?

    Why bother responding if any of your assertions about me are accurate?

    I think a 33% piracy rate is bad. I think it’s nationally embarrassing, and I think any responsible person involved in discussions about where we’re going in the digital economy should have an opinion on that.

    I’m sure others have noted the complete dishonesty with which you’ve just backtracked from your misguided glee at thinking you had identified me through Geist’s statement about EDs, but in case they haven’t I’ll just make it explicit. Apparently, I misinterpreted what Geist was trying to do, but you didn’t, even though we thought the same thing? You can’t have your accusations and eat them too.

    Keep protecting the queen, Hook. She needs your unquestioning loyalty. Without it, the hive collapses.

  20. strunk&white says:

    … and to be clear, I didn’t misinterpret what Geist was trying to do with the ED reference. You know, he knows it, and I know it.

    Just own something for once.

  21. Captain Hook says:

    Oh sure you didn’t misinterpret anything did’ya whitey. And you say I should own “something for once”?

    Dude, we have a “purported” piracy rate of 33%, That is #91 in a list of 107 where the States is #107 with a piracy rate of there own at 20%

    If piracy rate is the measure of who gets to be on the priority watch list, then that means there should be 90 other countries in line ahead of us. Gannon’s point was completely without merit.

    Frankly software piracy rates should be a really low priority for us, but I know that 33% sounds so high to you that you figure if you repeat it enough it will make our laws look bad. Well compared to MOST of the rest of the world it actually makes us look pretty darn good. Your point is just and baseless as Gannon’s.

    “Apparently, I misinterpreted what Geist was trying to do, but you didn’t, even though we thought the same thing?”

    Dude, sure I expect Geist indirectly TRIED calling you a lobbyist when he wrote that. But that was when he honestly thought you were the ED of a creators group, in which case he would have been right wouldn’t he? As it turned out you weren’t, and by virtue of the way he worded it, he never actually called YOU anything. I know the logic here is difficult for you to grasp, but try hard, then take an aspirin and go have a little lie down until the head goes away.

    And BTW, pointing out how badly you make an argument should hardly be considered “protecting the queen”. It’s more like shooting fish in a barrel. Hardly good sport, but mildly entertaining.