The Conference Board Of Canada Recalls Three IP Reports; Admits Plagiarism

from the wow dept

Earlier this week, we noted the massive problems with a recent set of reports put out by The Conference Board of Canada about intellectual property in Canada. Based on highly questionable research with parts of it apparently copy/pasted from lobbyist reports, the whole thing was a mess, and a significant drain on The Conference Board of Canada's credibility as an impartial analyst on these sorts of issues. Michael Geist has been leading the charge in exposing these reports for what they are, and I recently agreed to team up with Geist (really: back him up by saying "yeah, what he said!" over and over again) in a debate with the Conference Board organized by the Mesh guys. Except... while waiting for The Conference Board to respond to the offer to debate, something quite surprising happened: the Conference Board of Canada has recalled all three IP reports and put out a statement reading:
The Conference Board of Canada has recalled three reports: Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Economy; National Innovation Performance and Intellectual Property Rights: A Comparative Analysis; and Intellectual Property Rights--Creating Value and Stimulating Investment. An internal review has determined that these reports did not follow the high quality research standards of The Conference Board of Canada.
Separately, the CEO of The Conference Board of Canada has supposedly admitted the report was plagiarized. Kudos to Michael Geist for his relentless following of this story, and making sure it got the attention it deserved... and kudos to The Conference Board of Canada for actually backing down (despite first defending the credibility of the report) once it realized how problematic it was. However, it is disappointing that it took massive publicity to get the company to recognize and admit the mistake. It's troubling that it would have put out lobbyist talking points in cut-and-paste fashion in the first place... and it makes you wonder if it's happened with other reports from The Conference Board of Canada. In the meantime, I guess this means I'm not flying to Toronto any time soon...

Filed Under: copyright, intellectual property, michael geist, plagiarism, recall, reports
Companies: the conference board of canada

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2009 @ 3:17pm

    This is an interesting variation on the theme of plagiarism. More usually, an inferior writer plagiarizes from a better one to appear to be better than they are. The better one doesn't like his or her work being used uncredited.

    Here, instead, we have an organization with superior credibility using biased industry reports uncredited perhaps in a scheme to launder them. In that case, the true authors of the reports probably want them to be credited to the neutral association instead, because they don't care about credit, but rather want what's in the reports to be believed, which is more likely if the true source remains unknown.

    Either way, it's intellectually dishonest behavior by the plagiarist. "Bias laundering" of industry propaganda is perhaps the worse of the two, since it is more likely to have broad implications for policy and thereby affect a large number of people than some kid getting an undeserved A in English Lit.

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