Plagiarising Canadian think tank who used tax dollars to shill for Big Content refuses to back down

The Conference Board of Canada, who were caught plagiarising in a report on the Digital Economy, produced at the Ontario tax-payers' expense, have responded. They claim it's not plagiarism or intellectual dishonesty that led them to copy-and-paste from an American entertainment lobby group's materials, it's just that the corporate mouthpieces of the record, film and software industries happened to have published the best, most balanced account of copyright in the digital age. As Michael Geist points out, their definition of plagiarism wouldn't pass muster at any university, and the report they copied is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Leaving aside the fact that all the most relevant arguments just happen to come from a U.S. lobby group with direct links to the funders of the Digital Economy report, the Conference Board of Canada has failed to understand the rules associated with plagiarism as a sprinkling of citations is simply not good enough. As the University of Ottawa's plagiarism guidelines (which are mirrored in academic institutions around the world) note "if you use someone else's words, data, etc., use quotation marks and give a complete reference." The Digital Economy report repeatedly used the same or very similar wording to the IIPA document and does not use quotations. Moreover, my posting cited to factual errors contained within the report and the press release. For example, the Conference Board claimed that the OECD concluded that Canada is the world's file sharing capital on a per capita basis. This is simply false as anyone who reads the OECD report will find that it did not reach that conclusion. Nevertheless, the Conference Board has chosen not to respond to this issue.

Admitting an error is never easy, but I would submit that the Conference Board of Canada has compounded its mistake by standing by its report. In doing so, it has done little more than further undermine its credibility. Particularly given that public dollars helped fund this report, Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson should provide his views on whether his government regards this as appropriate use of taxpayer money.

Conference Board of Canada Responds, Stands By Its Report