Canadian thinktank withdraws copyright "research" that plagiarised US lobbyists, publishes new balanced recommendations

The Conference Board of Canada is a respected think-tank -- or it was, until it was discovered that it had cooked its research in a report on Canadian copyright that had been funded by copyright industry bodies (they discarded the empirical research that suggested there was no problem and instead plagiarised a lobbying document produced by its sponsors and presented it as "research").

Now, the Conference Board has finally officially withdrawn its fraudulent initial report and published a new one, reversing many of its earlier recommendations. From Michael Geist:

The new report, which weighs in at 113 pages, was completed by Ruth Corbin, a Toronto-based IP expert. Corbin started from scratch, reading a broad range of materials, conducting interviews, and leading a private roundtable on the issue (I participated in the roundtable and met separately with her). While there is much to digest, the lead takeaway is to marvel at the difference between a report cribbed from lobby speaking points and one that attempts to dig into the issues in a more balanced fashion. Three examples:

First, the report puts intellectual property policy into perspective as just one portion of the innovation agenda, noting that over-protection can be lead to diminishing returns:

Furthermore, protection rights are not the only policy option for the big-picture goal of improving Canada's innovation track record. Indeed, statistical evidence demonstrates a non-linear relationship between strength of intellectual property rights and a country's record of innovation. There are diminishing returns to rights after a certain point of "strengthening" ("the more the better" loses validity at some point), and countries have other policy means of encouraging innovation. Intellectual property rights should thus not become the whipping boy of debate. They are a necessary component, but not the sole guarantor of Canada's innovation ranking and economic competitiveness. That conclusion should allow other considerations to enter the debate, such as compatibility with foreign policy, attraction of investment capital, consistency with privacy laws, business soundness, and common sense.

Conference Board of Canada Releases New IP Report, Backs Away From Prior Recommendations (Thanks, Michael!)


  1. Facts:

    CBC DVDs are region 0.
    RCE-encoded R1 or R2 discs won’t play in cheap Chinese DVD players.


    Canadian media needs love more than control.
    Hollywood would rather have more control and less money.

  2. I will be interested to see if the BigIP lobby still references the Conference Board of Canada earlier report now that it’s been withdrawn. The allegations regarding the quality of research in the first report doesn’t seem to have stopped them so far. I am one Canadian who is rather sick it.

  3. Really nice to hear this followup to the earlier mess. Thanks! As I’ve said before, one of the things I love about reading BB is that you get updates on stuff you read before, rather than just one article and then forever wondering what happened.

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