Canadian copyright lobbyists leaned on "independent" researchers to change report on file-sharing

The Conference Board of Canada's sellout on copyright just keeps on getting worse. To recap: the Conference Board is a supposedly neutral research outfit that was asked by the Canadian copyright industries to write a report on file-sharing and piracy in Canada. They hit up the Ontario government for $15,000 to fund an event where the findings of the report would be presented.

Then they hired an independent researcher who concluded that there wasn't anything particularly wrong with Canadian file-sharing. They threw away his research.

Then they plagiarized dodgy press-materials produced by the leading US copyright lobby group, quoting lengthy passages that were factually wrong.

Then they denied any wrongdoing.

Then they admitted they'd plagiarized, but insisted that the public money hadn't been spent "on the report" — it had been spent on the conference about the report, which is a Different Thing Altogether.

Then the founder and leader of the Conference Board, Anne Golden, appeared on the TVOntario podcast Search Engine and argued that she didn't really see anything especially egregious about the fact that the plagiarists had copied the talking points of the people who'd hired them to write the "independent" report. She even tried to discredit the distinguished academic who wrote the conflicting report that they discarded by saying that he's a plagiarist for saying that "if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck" (in reference to the Board's apparent bias-for-money position), because someone else said that first.

And now, it just got worse.

One of the named authors of the plagiarized report has come forward to say that the funders of the report — Canadian copyright lobbyists — actively pressured him to come to the conclusions that they wanted to see. He asked to have his name removed from the report prior to publication — and Anne Golden called him to talk it over and then hung up on him.

# My new work was interrupted in mid-September by my former supervisor at the Conference Board to tell me there had been "push back" from one of the funding clients about the research and inclusion of Mr. deBeer's contribution. I had quit almost two months earlier so this was of no concern to me.

# Around the same time, my new work was also interrupted by a call from one of the funding clients who expressed similar concerns. Again, I informed him that I no longer had anything to do with these reports.

# I received news of its publication on May 26, 2009, ten months after my resignation. I downloaded and read the research after I was informed of the controversy and was alarmed to see the direction it had taken.

# I sent my letter to Anne Golden the following day.

# The VP of Public Policy e-mailed me on May 29th to ask for my assistance in finding both researchers who could "fix" the reports, as well as external reviewers who would be impartial in reviewing the new work. His message stated that "I trust your judgment, experience and knowledge and would value your help."

Ex-Conference Board Author Speaks Out; Confirms "Push Back" From Copyright Lobby Funders