I write this blog as a final rumination on the past two and half months of my law school life, which have been spent at the copyright collective known as the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). I think I can safely say that the time I have spent there has been enriching in many aspects, and has taught me much upon which I can build my future legal career.
Given SOCAN’s nature, I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the practical aspects of copyright policy, especially in the neighbouring rights area of tariffing licensees and users for the right to perform and broadcast the music of SOCAN members publicly. What interested me the most about collective management of copyright was the sheer number of people who were affected by the tariffs that SOCAN applies for, and has approved by Copyright Board of Canada. Seeing the effect of a SOCAN tariff play out in the licensing and royalty-collection process helped cement some of the core concepts of copyright that I learned in copyright theory class. I also had the chance to chat with legal counsels about the effects of the SCC’s copyright pentalogy decisions, which SOCAN was heavily involved in. In doing so, I gained a better understanding of the interactions between law and policy, and how these interactions translated into practice. My supervisors also ensured I had a well-rounded experience by giving me the opportunity to work on internal policies, as well provide research support on litigation files.
Similar to my predecessor, Joshua Dallmann, who interned at SOCAN in the fall of 2011 (read his blog here), I was very nervous during the first two days of the internship because it was so odd being away from the cocoon of Osgoode. That changed quickly however, because my supervisors were excellent, wise and friendly teachers who put me at ease immediately. I am happy to say that I can look back on the experience and find something I have learnt from every single person in the SOCAN legal department, leaving me so much the richer in knowledge. My supervisors also spent considerable time and energy in educating me about law as a profession – giving me tips and advice not just on practicing the law, but rather, on being a lawyer. The experience has I think, helped me grow up in a way that only practical, real world legal experience can, and has left me eager to graduate in May 2013 and return to the practice of law.
And then of course, there were the boxes of free CDs, the lunchtime concerts and the much-anticipated SOCAN Awards, all of which, I think it will suffice to say, showed me the effects of the work I was doing every day, making the endless poring over legalese completely worth it and fabulously fun.
SOCAN I say I had a great time last semester? That would be a definite, resounding “Yes!”
Mekhala Chaubal is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.