TORONTO, June 4 /CNW/ - Canadians want strong government leadership on
intellectual property (IP) protection, to support their goals of a prosperous,
innovative economy and vibrant creative sector, a new Environics Research
study has found.
The study identified a disconnect involving the "gap between Canadian
laws and international standards in the area of counterfeiting, piracy, and
illegal downloading," and widespread public support for such protections in "a
country that prides itself on sound citizenship."
The report, "Looking for Leadership: Canadian Attitudes Toward
Intellectual Property," is based on comprehensive national polling data from
Environics' annual Social Values Monitor. Some of the key research findings
- A strong majority (83 percent) of Canadians believe that IP such as
software, music, videos and books deserves the same protection from
theft as other, more tangible goods.
- Ninety percent of Canadians agree that "products of the mind" should
be protected by strong patent, copyright and trademark laws.
"Canadians are looking to government for leadership on this issue and are
ready to play by the rules, but they see no evidence of what those rules might
be," said David MacDonald, Group Vice President, Consumer Research, Environics
Research Group. "They are waiting for a sound legal and economic framework for
the circulation of creative goods in a digital world."
Currently, Canadians operate in a virtual vacuum of regulation or even
social standards when it comes to the use and abuse of intellectual property,
according to the study. As a result, it found, significant proportions of the
Canadian public report having acquired creative goods illegally, despite their
support for IP protection. This number is even higher among youth.
IP Protection to Foster Economic Growth
The survey also found that the vast majority of Canadians (93%) view the
creation of IP as essential to Canada's long-term economic growth and
prosperity. Furthermore, 82% of respondents agree that IP creators would have
little incentive to do so if competitors could copy and sell the creations as
"Canadians recognize that in the global information economy, the ability
to contribute products of the mind will define Canada's success or failure,"
MacDonald said. "Recognizing that piracy-based economies are parasitical in
nature, they are looking for government leadership in regulating the
circulation of artistic, technological, cultural, and intellectual work in an
age of digital change."
Unanimity Across Party Lines, But Not Generations
According to the study, there is remarkable unanimity on these issues
among Canadians of different political stripes: The largest partisan variance
on any of these questions was just six percentage points.
However, significant variations were found among the attitudes of young
Canadians relative to the overall population. The survey found that youth are
considerably more permissive than Canadians overall when it comes to
plagiarism and cheating. For example, those aged 15 to 24 are twice as likely
(19%) as Canadians overall (10%) to say there is nothing wrong with students
copying what they read on the internet and passing it off as their own work.
"The strong foundation of respect for IP in Canada may be eroded over
time if these conditions persist," MacDonald said.
Beyond Rules, Education
Beyond rules, part of the solution appears to lie in education, according
to the study. Eight-two percent of respondents agree that government has a
responsibility to educate Canadians about the need to respect copyright laws
on the Internet.
This extends to government's role in setting ethical standards for young
people. MacDonald remarked, "These findings are a wake-up call to government
not only to counteract a worrisome trend in youth values, but also to support
parents' efforts to instill respect for ideas, innovation, creativity and hard
work in their children."
About the Study and Social Values Survey Methodology
The study was prepared independently by Environics Research Group based
on national polling data from the 2006 Environics Social Values Monitor. The
Environics Social Values Monitor is a national, syndicated study that tracks
socio-cultural change in Canada. The survey was fielded between July and
September of 2006, using an in-home, self completion methodology with a random
sample of n=2,724 sample of Canadians aged 15+. Samples of this size produce
results that are considered accurate to within +/- 1.9 percentage points, 19
times out of 20. Some questions in the survey were funded by the Canadian
Recording Industry Association.
The complete study is available at http://erg.environics.net/media_room.
About Environics Research
Environics is one of Canada's leading marketing and social survey
research firms with a reputation for integrity, accuracy and insight.
Co-founded in 1970 by Environics' president Michael Adams, the firm has
evolved into a multi-disciplined international research and consulting group.
Headquartered in Toronto, the firm has offices and affiliates in Ottawa,
Calgary, Montreal, New York and Washington D.C.
Environics is a full-service research firm experienced in conducting
telephone surveys, personal in-home interviews, postal surveys, panel studies
and focus groups, conducting approximately 2000 focus groups and 250,000
interviews a year. Environics offers its clients a broad array of research,
consulting and communications services, from traditional public opinion
polling and market research to advanced studies of human values and social
change, in addition to consulting to aid our clients' product design,
marketing, communications and human resource strategies.
For further information:
For further information: Susan Seto, Senior Research Associate, (416)