Author Topic: RCMP: "Yeah, remember those reports about the billions lost from piracy?"  (Read 2661 times)

Offline Baradium

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"we didn't really do any research to come up with them..."

Sorry to our Canadian members... but this cracks me up!
Canadian coppers admit making up piracy figures

$30 billion figure simply plucked from bottom

By Nick Farrell: Wednesday 19 September 2007, 08:52

FOR MONTHS, Canadian coppers have been claiming that software piracy costs the country $30 billion.
The figure has been used by countless lobby groups to get the Canadian authorities to bring in some tougher anti-piracy laws.

US Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins even quoted the figure in a March 2007 speech critical of Canadian law.

However bogger Michael Geist thought there was something fishy about the figure and asked for the sources behind the Royal Mounted Police's $30 billion claim.

The letter came back from red-faced coppers confessing that they made up the figure based what they had read on the Internet.

The RCMP did not conduct any independent research on the scope or impact of counterfeiting in Canada, but rather merely searched a couple news stories.

The sources for the outrageous claim came from an unsubstantiated telly news piece, which in turn got the figure from the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, which happens to be the movie, recording and software industry in drag, and which simply made it up

It seems that the RCMP just saw the figure which was plucked out of the bottom of the IACC and printed it as its own. Soon they'll try solving their cases by looking to see who did it on Wikipedia.

More here.
Misleading RCMP Data Undermines Counterfeiting Claims PDF   | Print |   E-mail 
Tuesday September 18, 2007
My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) focuses on the growing attention paid to counterfeiting and the use of misleading data as part of the debate. The RCMP has been the single most prominent source for claims about the impact of counterfeiting in Canada since its 2005 Economic Crime Report pegged the counterfeiting cost at between $10 to 30 billion dollars annually. The $30 billion figure has assumed a life of its own with groups lobbying for tougher anti-counterfeiting measures regularly raising it as evidence of the dire need for Canadian action.  U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins cited the figure in a March 2007 speech critical of Canadian law, while the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, Canada's leading anti-counterfeiting lobby, reported in April that the "RCMP estimates that the cost to the Canadian economy from counterfeiting and piracy is in the billions."

Yet despite the reliance on this figure - the Industry Committee referenced it in its final report - a closer examination reveals that the RCMP data is fatally flawed.  Responding to an Access to Information Act request for the sources behind the $30 billion claim, Canada's national police force last week admitted that the figures were based on "open source documents found on the Internet." In other words, the RCMP did not conduct any independent research on the scope or impact of counterfeiting in Canada, but rather merely searched for news stories on the Internet and then stood silent while lobby groups trumpeted the figure before Parliament.

A careful examination of the documents relied upon by the RCMP reveal two sources in particular that appear responsible for the $30 billion claim.   First, a March 2005 CTV news story reported unsubstantiated claims by the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, a global anti-counterfeiting lobby group made up predominantly of brand owners and law firms, that some of its members believe that 20 percent of the Canadian market is "pirate product."  That 20 percent figure - raised without the support of any evidence whatsoever - appears to have been used by IACC to peg the cost of counterfeiting in Canada at $20 billion per year.

Second, a 2005 powerpoint presentation by Jayson Myers, then the Chief Economist for the Canadian Manufacturing and Exporters, included a single bullet point that "estimated direct losses in Canada between $20 billion and $30 billion annually." The source for this claim?  According to Mr. Myers, it is simply 3 to 4 percent of the value of Canada's two-way trade.

Indeed, unsubstantiated and inflated counterfeiting numbers appear to be nothing new.  The International Chamber of Commerce has long maintained that counterfeiting represents 5 to 7 percent of global trade (those figures were also raised before the Canadian House of Commons committees).  However, a recent study by the independent U.S. Government Accountability Office found that of 287,000 randomly inspected shipments from 2000 to 2005, counterfeiting violations were only found in 0.06 percent - less than one tenth of one percent. Moreover, the GAO noted that despite increases in counterfeiting seizures, the value of those seizures in 2005 represented only 0.02 percent of the total value of imports of goods in product categories that are likely to involve intellectual property protection.

Similarly, this year the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which counts most industrialized countries as members, issued a comprehensive report on counterfeiting that placed the global cost at $200 billion annually.  That analysis, which makes suggestions that Canadian counterfeiting costs $30 billion each year even more implausible, was less than a third of what some business groups had previously claimed.   

In fact, the OECD report concluded that while counterfeiting was an issue in all economies, it is most common in economies "where informal, open-air markets predominate." This suggests that far from being a hot-bed of counterfeiting, Canada is rarely the source of counterfeit products and it consumes far less than many other countries worldwide.

Before Ottawa embarks on further anti-counterfeiting legislative action, it first requires accurate, non-partisan data.  Not only has such information been missing from the Canadian debate, but it is the RCMP that has astonishingly been a primary source of unreliable, unsubstantiated data.  In doing so, it has undermined both its own credibility as well as that of the House of Commons committee counterfeiting reports.
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Offline FlyboyGil

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Re: RCMP: "Yeah, remember those reports about the billions lost from piracy?"
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2007, 01:56:16 PM »
The first one comes from the Enquirer, that's not much of a good source. I've never heard anything about this either, and I frequent the news. Have to look into it some more.