Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Fuck the US IIPA

I'm in a sour mood today, can you tell?

Would someone with a genuine background in statistical methodology publicly refute these assholes?

"Canada a top copyright violator, U.S. group says". In a letter submitted to Mr. Stanford McCoy, Acting Assistant US Trade Representative.

Wow. Us little Canadians are the third worst copyright violators behind China and Russia. Geez, out of how many countries studied? Only 51? And how-come piracy numbers aren't available for the UK, France, Denmark, Australia and say the goold ole USA itself? Notable exceptions, no?

I smell an agenda here....

IIPA and its members applaud USTR for spearheading an international effort to forge an “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (known as the “ACTA”) among like-minded trading partners. This effort, announced on October 23, 2007, recognizes the critical importance that effective enforcement now plays in improving the global trading environment in IPR-based products. The U.S. was joined by key trading partners in making this announcement -- Japan, the EU, Mexico, Switzerland, Canada, Korea and New Zealand.

Oh goody for us

Almost alone among developed economies in the OECD, Canada has taken no meaningful steps toward modernizing its copyright law to meet the new global minimum standards of the WIPO Internet Treaties, which Canada signed more than a decade ago.

I repeat, goody for us.

Read the whole thing, it all concentrates on how Canadian law is not strong enough in the opinion of the authors of the study. What is interesting is how they complain about this as an example of our laws not being strong enough:

The piracy problem within Canada continues to get worse, not better, and is causing serious problems for markets in other countries, including the U.S.

In 2007, the Entertainment Software Association’s investigations uncovered numerous piracy operations in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. Pirates openly advertised these operations on the internet through their own websites and/or online classifieds such as Craigslist. Many pirates also operated stores full of pirated materials, often found in malls.

Openly selling copyright material. Sounds ominous, must mean copyright law is weak. But wait a minute, in the very next sentence:

During a raid of a mall-store in Richmond, British Columbia, several stores within the vicinity of the target closed within minutes of the RCMP entering the mall, leading the RCMP and ESA to believe that this mall housed a network of stores selling pirated goods that trade and communicate with each other.

So we do have laws against this. Which leads to the meat of their argument:

However, not all enforcement problems in Canada can be traced to deficiencies in the law. Even when pirate activity is clearly illegal, Canada’s response to it all too often falls short. While Canadian authorities may say that combating copyright piracy is an important objective, some of their actions – in terms of priority setting, resources, training, and the outcome of prosecutions – suggest the contrary. Piracy is a serious problem in Canada, but the evidence is that the Canadian government is not taking it seriously.

We don't care enough. Well they may have a point there. But where they lose any support from me is how they highlight specific countries without listing their own. I would love to know how much piracy is going on in the US. How well are the "better, stronger, faster" laws working out? The entertainment and fashion industries are losing battles against pirated media and fake designer clothing, according to a report saying the number of U.S. adults buying such goods rose 4 percent this year. That well huh?

Maybe the reason Canadians don't see pirating as such a huge criminal issue is because, like the war on drugs, increased legislation and enforcement just doesn't work. I know, they don't want to hear that theory. It might mean they would have to lower their prices on their overpriced merchandise. Can't have that now, can we.

One last thing that really made my blood boil is their methodology accounting for losses and the numbers they use. If you look at the estimated losses by country, the only numbers available are for Business Software losses. The numbers for Music, Movies, Entertainment Software and Books are all Not Available. Well Holy Shit. For the number 3 country in the world, you'd think there'd be some numbers to back that claim up now wouldn't you?

So, lets look at this Business Software piracy business (as that's the only thing we have numbers for). How'd they get that figure?

The total amount of software, legitimate and pirated, installed during the year (the total software base) is obtained by multiplying the number of new hardware units and the number of existing hardware units getting new software by their respective software loads.

So, if you buy a new computer and don't purchase a copy of Microsoft Office, the number one business software product on the market, you must be stealing it, right? That's how I read their conclusion.

Well, sorry to burst your bubble. But I am directly involved in recommending hardware to people. When they ask me, how do I get Microsoft Office? I reply you don't, get OpenOffice instead, its damn near 100% compatible, its free, and its legal for you to use. Seeing as how I have made that recommendation a few hundred times over the last few years, I suspect it would have an impact on "total business software units sold". Throw in the theory that I tell 3 friends, they tell 3 friends, etc. I'm sure the word is getting out.

Lastly, I also fix a lot of personal computers, and you know what's funny? For a country with a reputed 34% business software piracy rate, you'd think I'd run into it a lot.

Nope. Hardly ever to be honest. And when I do find it, I explain how its illegal, why its illegal and what their alternatives are. And being the genuinely honest people they are, they follow my advice and rectify the situation.

But a lowly little tech like me wouldn't know more than these IIPA experts who are of a genuinely open mind on this issue, would I? Nahh, didn't think so. My experience so far must be an anomaly.

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