The Canadian Heritage Chapter: A Semester In Osgoode’s IP Intensive Program

This past fall, eight classmates and I were fortunate enough to partake in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program (the “IP Intensive Program”). The program commenced with two weeks of classes headed by members of the intellectual property (IP) community, speaking on IP law generally and their respective practices.

An essential aspect of the clinical program was an 11-week internship that saw students placed with government agencies or various organizations involved with IP law and/or technology.   Some students were even lucky enough to travel to California as visiting researchers at Stanford University’s CodeX laboratory.  For me, the remainder of the fall semester was spent at the Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch of Canadian Heritage.

The Department of Canadian Heritage is tasked with the duty of devising national policies and programs that encourage the development and sustainability of Canadian content, and endeavors to foster cultural participation and active citizenship.  The Department is comprised of a number of branches, and I was fortunate enough to be placed in the Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch.  The mandate of the Branch is to ensure that Canada’s policy framework “supports creativity, innovation and access to cultural works.” The Branch strives to realize this mandate by analyzing technological and legal developments in Canada and abroad, advancing Canadian interests in the international atmosphere, and also promoting knowledge concerning copyright legislation and regulations.

While at Canadian Heritage, I was roped in on, and assigned various projects concerning the abovementioned mandate.  The Copyright team was energized about the recent passing of Bill C-11 – the Copyright Modernization Act – that they had tirelessly worked on prior to my arrival.  Now that the dust had settled, so to speak, the Branch was perfectly poised to usher in the era of the Copyright Modernization Act, and take stock of the entire reform process. I particularly admire the Branch’s ability to position itself in a stance whereby it will be able to pre-empt various future occurrences, by learning from past events and the experiences of other countries.   The Copyright team is never at a standstill; their practices are rather dynamic, at times international, and span from public outreach to policy drafting.

While at Canadian Heritage, I performed various research tasks and drafted documents on a number of matters pertaining to copyright reform in Canada and abroad. I was also able to answer public inquiries of a general nature, write a legal memorandum, and present my research to the Branch.

The time I spent at Canadian Heritage is truly invaluable.  I am leaving with an immense amount of knowledge and insight about copyright legislation and reform in Canada and abroad. I have been lucky enough to get a first-hand look into the rationales and perspectives that led to the final embodiment of the Copyright Modernization Act. Furthermore, I met incredibly intelligent and kind people, who are extremely passionate about copyright and culture in Canada.

The IP Intensive Program is a truly invaluable experience and unlike any other endeavor I have embarked on during my time at Osgoode. For anyone interested in IP law and/or technology, the skills you acquire during your placement are unparallel to what you can learn in a classroom.  Furthermore, you will likely be in a better decision to discern between where you do and do not want to go as far as you legal career in concerned.

Tracy Ayodele 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.

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