The Business Software Alliance has found a newly imagined detriment of Canada’s supposedly sub-par intellectual property laws – make sure you’re sitting down for this shocker – it’s slowing down the advancement of cloud computing.

It’s the latest of many poxes that have stricken Canada as a result of our outdated IP enforcement and copyright protection regime, all of which have been fastidiously documented by this interest group representing the world’s largest software companies.

First, the BSA equated reduction of software piracy through stronger copyright enforcement to an increase in spending on software. That spurious logic allowed them to claim our nation was missing out on the creation of thousands of jobs and $3 billion of economic value. Then, Canada was described by the BSA as a “pirate haven,” only to later recant when its own survey showed that Canada actually has less pirates per capita than the U.S., U.K., Japan, and many other countries.

Now the group representing the interests of Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, McAfee, Symantec, and more, are pointing to cloud computing as the latest slice of utopia denied to Canadians due to our IP laws.

Brian Jackson, Associate Editor,
Brian Jackson, Associate Editor,

“Providers of cloud computing and digital economy technologies and services, as with other highly innovative products, rely on a combination of patents, copyrights, trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property protection,” the BSA’s report on cloud computing explains. That’s as close as it comes to connecting how IP actually impacts cloud computing, also adding: “In order to promote continued innovation and technological advancement, intellectual property laws should provide for clear protection and vigorous enforcement against misappropriation and infringement of the developments that underlie the cloud.”

In reality, lack of cloud progress has little to do with IP laws and more to do with a much more proven and simpler economic dictate: supply and demand.

All those big software companies want to sell their new cloud services, but not many Canadian firms want to buy them. In our State of the SMB report for 2011, 55 per cent of businesses told us they hadn’t adopted cloud technology at all. When asked to list their concerns about cloud technology, most named “security risks” or “costs and pricing structure” as their biggest worry.

There is fair debate to be had about whether those concerns are valid or not, but the fact is that most companies still have them. These aren’t concerns relating to intellectual property laws, but to security of data and business cost overhead.

Arguing that worries over IP protection has somehow stopped technology firms from offering cloud computing is laughable, as BSA member organizations have been enthusiastically marketing such services for the last couple of years. Take Microsoft’s recent move to deliver its Office productivity suite over the Web, for example, or Symantec’s reputation-based security services.

Another cloud service provider that you might be familiar with, and is not a member of the BSA, has a more reasonable approach to explaining barriers to cloud adoption in Canada. Here’s Google’s take on the issue:

“Canadians are slow to move to a true cloud service, and this is affecting our global competitiveness. Simplistic notions of data sovereignty often means businesses and users are missing out on world-leading security and data protection expertise.”

Canada is specifically called out for having gaps in its IP laws by the BSA time and time again. But somehow our technology firms remain innovative and our economy keeps growing.

The BSA’s cloud computing report card is an impressive study for the number of countries it looked at, and the data it collected for many different variables that can be used to quickly assess everything from cybercrime prevention to broadband penetration. But saying the methodology is applicable to the growth of cloud computing isn’t backed up by any real evidence.

Looks like the BSA has its head in the clouds on this one.

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  • TheLaughingMan

    Stephen Harper, Rob Nicholson, John Baird, Jim Flaherty, Diane Finley, Peter MacKay, Tom Lukiwski and Vic Toews, along with the rest of the Conservatives are liars, cheats and thieves! Bill-C10 threatens to throw many in jail longer and needlessly! Bill C-11 would strip Canadians of even more rights to what we already own and censor our flow of information! Bill-30 will strip us of our privacy! Now lets not forget the G20 fiasco, Vic Toews immortal speech about Canadians being pedophiles, the planned pension cuts, they place gag orders on those they appoint to various studies so that if the studies turn up data contradicting their ideals, they can suppress the data, or their election fraud, and now they can’t even get our budget out on time!
    The fascist Conservatives would turn our country into an Orwellian nightmare! How can they even call themselves a legitimate government?! How dare they act like they have our best interests in mind! Who do they think they are telling us what we need and how to live our lives?! They’re the middle management and we’re the ones who hired them! We should be telling them what we want and how we want it!
    Canada needs to rise up march on Ottawa and occupy the parliament! We need to take back our country, remove the Conservatives from power! Our government, as a whole needs to be dismantled and rebuilt (that goes for those other parties as well. I’m looking at you Liberals and NDP. Fat load of good they’ve ever done for the country)! All our political parties have ever really done to us has been to divide Canadians. This only serves to make us easy prey for predators in the night! I say no more! Canadians need to stand up as one, divided by zero! Those that would appose the will of the people need to be taught a lesson, followed by some good old fashion tarring and feathering, finish with banishing traitors from Canada! Finally Canadians need some laws that allow us to force referendums on the government and punish corrupt politicians who think they can screw with their people, their employers, you and me! Fellow Canadians I implore you raise up and shout out your discontent for the horrible state of our country and the world for that matter. Shout from every mountain top (email, letters, phone calls, blogs, forums, twitter, youtube, ect…), “WE WILL NOT STAND FOR CORRUPTION WITHIN OUR GOVERNMENT! WE WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT AS OUR FREEDOMS ARE SLOWLY ERODED! WE’RE COMING FOR YOU HARPER REGIEM! EXPECT US!” Let the voice of the masses resinate as one, thundering and deafening our oppressors. Keep screaming and screaming, every day, all day, don’t stop screaming until this country is ours again!
    ‘Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the windows, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”
    ‘People shouldn’t fear the government, the government should fear the people!’
    For more information, check out

  • Also remember that the BSA is made up of competitors to the primary suppliers of cloud services, both FLOSS based infrastructure and custom. Their regular target is competitors, not infringement, and lobby for big government to give them more handouts than they already receive.

  • G. Mackey

    To TheLaughingMan, didn’t your teachers ever tell you to stay on topic? You should see someone about getting a life.

    Cloud Computing:

    1. Major software companies earnestly promote cloud computing because it means a steady revenue stream for them – as opposed to a one-time license fee every 5 or 6 years. Customer companies rightfully resist because they don’t want to be that revenue stream.
    2. Why would anyone want to compose and store sensitive documents in the cloud? It just adds another level of security risk. Your computer has to be secure whether you work locally or in the cloud.
    3. There are lots of situations where Internet service is problematic – with cloud computing this means no access to your work.
    So if cloud computing becomes ubiquitous, I predict that the next innovation will be mirroring your documents and applications from the cloud to your own computer so that you can work off-line.
    And wouldn’t that take us full circle to the origins of the PC?

  • I would agree that cloud computing is made many changing in the whole internet world and I would make a note that cloud computing is next generation growth

  • sabrina

    All our political parties have ever really done to us has been to divide Canadians. This only serves to make us easy prey for predators in the night! I say no more! Canadians need to stand up as one, divided by zero!