For months now, Canada has been under heavy fire by organizations within its own borders, and within those of its neighbor to the south (the U.S. of A), saying that Canada is a haven for movie piracy.
This has been snowballing for years, since the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) released its 2005 Economic Crime Report saying that piracy in Canada was costing the industry somewhere between $10 to $30 billion dollars annually.
U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, quoted this figure in March in a speech that criticized Canadian law. In the ensuing media storm, Hollywood blamed Canada for being responsible for 50% of movie piracy reported around the world.
Various motion picture associations were threatening to withhold films from Canada for six months after their U.S. release date, putting us down the line with many European countries like Great Britain.
All of this at the back end of a report made by the RCMP.
One which led to our government spending a large number of tax dollars to introduce, and pass, new movie piracy legislation, and two government committees demanded tougher action on counterfeiting and piracy.
That RCMP report was wrong.
Last week the RCMP revealed that the information found in the report came from “open source documents found on the Internet.” In other words, they took the information from unsubstantiated sources and, without conducting an independent investigation, published it as fact.
One source of this information was a 2005 CTV news story that had the figure quoted by a global anti-counterfeiting lobby group (without any evidence). Another was a 2005 PowerPoint presentation given by Jayson Myers, who at the time was Chief Economist for the Canadian Manufacturing and Exporters, in which a slide had the information included as an estimate, with no real research behind it.
What does this mean?
It means that the RCMP basically screwed the country. They took unconfirmed reports, with no evidence, and published them. We have been criticized and looked down upon for this, when the numbers weren’t even confirmed.
FYI, the RCMP didn’t feel guilty and come out and say so. It took a federal Access to Information Act to reveal their “sources”.
Hey RCMP, I read a wikipedia entry that said that making a paste out of banana peels can have LSD-like effects, but you don’t see me knocking on Donkey Kong’s door!
My computer’s beeping, I’m gonna go watch “3:10 to Yuma” now, just ignore the bird I’m flipping at the RCMP.
FOR MORE INFO VISIT:
AND WATCH: “Putting Canadian ‘Piracy’ in Perspective” a film by Michael Geist and Daniel Albahary on YouTube.