Conference Board recalls controversial copyright reports
The Conference Board of Canada has recalled three reports advocating tighter copyright rules, stating that the reports didn't follow research standards.
In a notice posted on its website Thursday, the board said it was recalling 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.
It said an internal review showed the reports "did not follow the high-quality research standards of the Conference Board of Canada."
On Monday, University of Ottawa law Prof. Michael Geist, who writes frequently about internet copyright issues, attacked the form and content of the reports, calling one of them "deceptive and plagiarized."
Copyright is a hot issue in Canada right now. The last version of the federal government's copyright bill, which could have imposed serious penalties for illegal downloading, died when the government dissolved Parliament before last fall's election.
The Conservatives have said they will reintroduce copyright reform.
The board promoted its reports with a release saying, "Canada's failure to strengthen intellectual property rights in the face of digital technology has given it an unwelcome reputation as the file-swapping capital of the world."
"The estimated number of illicit downloads (1.3 billion) is 65 times higher than the number legal downloads (20 million), mirroring the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's conclusion that Canada has the highest per capita incidence of unauthorized file-swapping in the world," the board said.
But in a posting on his blog, Geist said those claims are based on extrapolated data from a 2006 survey, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development study "did not reach" the conclusion the board said it did.
Moreover, Geist said the board based its information on material previously published by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, "the primary movie, music and software lobby in the U.S."
He also said the board had copied parts of its report from a property alliance report.