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Canadian Think Tank Recalls Reports on Intellectual Property After Plagiarism Allegation

May 28, 2009

The Conference Board of Canada on Thursday recalled three controversial reports dealing with intellectual-property rights, saying in a statement on its Web site that an internal review had determined that the reports “did not follow the high-quality research standards” that the independent research organization demands.

The reports, which were published last week, warned that Canada was the file-swapping capital of the world. That finding drew a strong response from Michael Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. In a blog entry on Monday, he accused the think tank of releasing “a deceptive, plagiarized report” that relied on outdated and unattributed information from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, which represents American producers of books, motion pictures, music, computer software, and video games.

Shortly afterward, the Conference Board of Canada issued a statement defending the report Mr. Geist had challenged, saying only one citation had been missing. The issue continued to make headlines, however, culminating in the recall this evening of all three reports.

The Conference Board’s president and chief executive, Anne Golden, told The Gazette, a Montreal newspaper, that the reports had been recalled not only because of citation oversights but also because they had not gone through external review. “I want to make it clear that I’m not responding to Geist,” she added. “We recalled the reports when we found out that all three … didn’t go through our process.” —Karen Birchard