Letters to the editor

Re: Where are all the CKOs? (Oct. 18)

In the article “”Where are all the CKOs?”” by Loy de Mello, Mr de Mello uses two citations from Dr. Nick Bontis that misrepresent Statistics Canada’s

data and definitions. Contrary to the article, Statistics Canada provided the following definition to respondents of the pilot Knowledge Management Practices Survey (KMPS), 2001. “”Knowledge management involves any systematic activity related to the capture and sharing of knowledge by the organization.”” In completing the questionnaire, respondents were asked to indicate which of 23 practices related to managing knowledge that they currently used or had plans to use.

The results of the survey showed that nine out of 10 firms in the five industries surveyed managed some aspect of their knowledge. Using e-mail was NOT one of these practices. In fact, of the firms indicating that they used at least one of the 23 practices, only six per cent of them used less than six practices.

Louise Earl
Unit Head
Research & Analysis
Statistics Canada


Re: Recession is the mother of invention (Oct. 18)

Your column about innovation was thoughtful. Here is another inventor problem you might also consider:

I have invented a way to expand the ink supply for some of HP’s ink cartridges by adding an extra bag with ink to increase the amount by about 400% and bring down the price to about the same as an original cartridge (see www.inkbags.com). In doing so, I searched about 250 patents and then submitted a patent application.

The problem is this: Although the patent application most probably circumvents existing patents, notably HP’s own, the only thing HP needs to do to stop me from selling the expanded ink supply system based on my application, is to force me into defending my patent in an American court. I just can’t afford that — most individual inventors can’t.

Per Akermalm


Re: Maritime provinces awash with software piracy (Oct. 16)

The executive quoted in the article hit the nail on the head: “”I think Microsoft is the reason that it does happen, because their (products) are so expensive. There’s no reason for the stuff to be that expensive.””

Steve Kupin


Re: Maritime provinces awash with software piracy (Oct. 16)

Where does CAAST get evidence to substantiate such a claim? I would be more willing to believe a 50 per cent piracy rate if they were talking about software on home personal computers, but to say that almost 51 per cent of business in the Maritimes are using illegal software is almost slanderous. I believe these claims are always exaggerated to make the problem seem bigger than it is.

I’m surprised they aren’t on the bandwagon with the recording industry, claiming that media should be taxed since income is lost on people making copies. Are they saying that Microsoft and the like are not making enough money? Could the discrepancy in price between software in America and Canada be a contributing factor? I can understand the $300 million in lost retail sales, although I would question the amount and calculation thereof, but what is this $2 Billion in lost wages? Who loses their wages when someone makes an illegal copy and how does that affect the software publishers?

Michel Dorge


Re: Maritime provinces awash with software piracy (Oct. 16)

The article reports: “”According to the International Planning and Research Corp., which conducted the study on CAAST’s behalf, piracy cost $289 million in retail sales in Canada in 2001, $2 billion in lost wages and 32,000 jobs.””

I don’t understand how the loss of $289 million in retail sales could cost 32,000 jobs and $2 billion in lost wages. Is the 32,000 jobs the number of people it would have taken to install the $289 million of mostly Windows products (I assume) and the $2 billion the wages for the 32,000 people?

Doug Fraser
Human Resources
McMaster University

David Fay, consultant for International Planning and Research Corp., responds:

We estimate the piracy losses by estimating what software demand is and comparing it to the supply. We estimate the demand by looking at PC shipments and market research that indicate what the average software need is on each PC. We estimate the software supply by polling member companies of the Business Software Alliance for their software shipment actuals and then estimate for the rest of the industry.

We take the average selling price for legal software and apply that to the pirated software to come up with the dollar losses for pirated software. Then we split those estimates into a retail portion and a wholesale portion and we apply the retail part to retail industry in Canada and specifically the sub-section of the retail industry that deals with packaged software. That’s where we’re applying economic analysis — by looking at input/output tables to see relative productivity of each industry, looking at Stats Canada data to look at how many employees there are in that industry now and how they’re distributed across the provinces. That’s how we come up with the employment loss estimates. For salary and tax losses, we use available salary information and tax rate information.

Also we look at the indirect effects: if the software was sold legitimately, there would be a certain number of (additional) people employed in retail and a certain number of (additional) people employed in software publishing itself. Those people would have money to spend and would require a certain number of other employees throughout Canada to support them. In other words, those jobs would help grow the economy.


Re: The RIAA’s siege mentality (Oct. 11)

Your point is very well made. I have always been astounded at the low proportion of the retail price that actually accrues to the author of the material.

On the purchase of a typical $23 CD, for example, the artist is lucky to get $1, IF all the up-front costs have been covered. The methods of accounting for that are a whole other issue. Books are no better. A $30 hardcover may net the author of the book $1.35 after repayment of advances etc.

Can you propose a method of remuneration of the artists that is viable and does not place them in indentured servitude to a distribution company? Frankly, I cannot. Every method I think up either ties the artist to a huge indebtedness to make the item or is dependent on some sort of time driven encryption system.

Mark Bernier


Re: The RIAA’s siege mentality (Oct. 11)

Right on, dude! One of the biggest reasons that piracy is so great is that no one feels bad about robbing from thieves. It’s the Robin Hood effect.

The RIAA and big recording companies have been ripping off composers, artists and consumers for virtually the entire history of the recording industry.

Their inability to adapt to the new technology is just further evidence they don’t want to make any “”investment”” that cuts into their already outrageous profits.

Bruce Edwardes


Re: The RIAA’s siege mentality (Oct. 11)

Check out mp3.com — this could be the model for how to sell music. I just found out about it, and as an independent musician I am in the process of preparing to submit material. I think the concept is very interesting — no wonder the music industry is concerned! What, let the artist have control over their own destiny?

John Waling

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of ITBusiness.ca. Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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