"It's certainly at the low end and it's improving."
Post Tagged with: "bsa"
As part of the attempt to characterize Canada as a "piracy haven," the Business Software Alliance's annual Global Piracy Report plays a lead role. The Conference Board of Canada references the findings, as do their funders in their reports on the state of Canadian intellectual property laws (Chamber of Commerce, CACN). Moreover, the report always generates considerable media interest, with coverage this year in the Globe and Mail and Canwest papers. For example, the Globe cited the data directly in the Download Decade series stating that "about 32 per cent of the computer software in Canada is pirated, contributing to losses of $1.2-billion (U.S.) in 2008 alone, according to a report from the Business Software Alliance."
This year the BSA reported that Canada declined from 33 to 32 percent. Michael Murphy, chair of the BSA Canada Committee claimed that "despite the slight decline, Canada’s software piracy rate is nowhere near where it should be compared to other advanced economy countries. We stand a better chance of reducing it significantly with stronger copyright legislation that strikes the appropriate balance between the rights of consumers and copyright holders."
Yet what the BSA did not disclose is that the 2009 report on Canada were guesses since Canadian firms and users were not surveyed. While the study makes seemingly authoritative claims about the state of Canadian piracy, the reality is that IDC, which conducts the study for BSA, did not bother to survey in Canada. After learning that Sweden was also not surveyed, I asked the Canadian BSA media contact about the approach in Canada. They replied that Canada was not included in the survey portion of the study, explaining that:
Computer Sweden reports that the BSA's recent data on piracy in Sweden was entirely estimated. No Swedish companies, vendors, or computer users were apparently contacted as part of the study.
France found itself at the centre of two major intellectual property stories yesterday. First, the French National Assembly adopted the "three strikes" approach that could result in the termination of Internet service for French subscribers (approved today by the Senate). The approach has been highly contentious and sets up a possible showdown with emerging European laws that protect access to the Internet. Second, as I blogged yesterday, the Business Software Alliance released its annual global piracy study.
Where is the connection?
The Business Software Alliance is out today with their annual report on global piracy in 2008. While the methodology raises serious questions – the BSA actually only surveys about 5,000 people in 24 countries and then extrapolates the data to 110 countries – the report shows declining numbers in many countries, though there is an overall increase due to very high rates in parts of the world. It also points to the growing importance of open source software, which the report says commands 15 percent of the market.
Piracy rates in Canada have been steadily declining in recent years – down to 32% in 2008 from 36% in 2004. Canada ranks among the 25 countries with the lowest piracy rates, ahead of many European countries including France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal (notwithstanding claims of CAAST). The 32% is lower than the European Union average, lower than any country in Africa, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East (tied with Israel), and lower than all but three Asian countries (Japan, Australia, and New Zealand). In fact, only five countries that have ratified the WIPO Internet treaties have software piracy rates lower than Canada. So much for Canada as a piracy haven and deserving of a place on the USTR Priority Watch List.
Beyond refuting many of the claims about Canadian piracy rates, the data is interesting since the BSA uses it to argue that implementing of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is part of a blueprint for reducing software piracy. It says it is one of five key elements: