IP Intensive: Never Stop Learning - A Semester at TVO

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a nerd. I’m the kid who skipped school just so I could stay at home and code websites until the wee hours of the morning. I would read books about particle physics or behavioural economics, not silly preteen vampires or wizards. Growing up, my channel of choice was BC’s equivalent to TVO – the Knowledge Network. So when I heard that I would be spending a semester as part of Osgoode’ Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program at the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (commonly known as TVO), I was already picking out a new pocket protector for my first day. I couldn’t possibly have asked for a better placement to satisfy my inner Bill Nye.

Falling under the Ontario Ministry of Education, TVO is a Crown Agency whose mandate is to provide an alternative source of public education in the province. The organization has created a strong reputation in the province for providing content that encourages its viewers to thoughtfully engage with the ideas they are presented. TVO is more than just a broadcaster. They are a public agency that provides an integral service within the province. They ensure that every Ontarian has the opportunity to be informed about the world around them, to think critically about the information they consume, and to engage in a journey of self growth and realization. TVO seeks to cultivate a class of thoughtful and responsible citizens. “Makes you think” isn’t merely a catchy slogan for marketing materials, it’s the guiding principle that shapes every decision made in the organization.

Immersed in an organizational culture that encourages its staff to invest in their own continued development, be it professional or otherwise, gave me the perfect environment in which to excel. I’ve always had this stubborn habit of wanting to figure things out for myself. I was the one in my family to tear everything apart just to see how it works then build it back together again – always with three less screws. Needless to say, I don’t particularly like a whole lot of hand holding. That being said, what I appreciated most about my time at TVO was the level of trust that was placed in me to accomplish each task with little to no micromanaging. I was given the freedom to find solutions to each challenge on my own. Even if I didn’t always get it right the first time around, I was never left to feel as though I had failed as there was even more value in learning from my mistakes. One of the most valuable skills I gained from this was the ability to gauge my limitations. I discovered when I felt confident moving forward on my own but also learned to recognize when to ask for guidance as I approached an area that was just beyond my capabilities.

My entire perspective on my relationship with the law was fundamentally changed as a result of my experience working at TVO. I came into this program with such a clear vision of where I wanted go and what I wanted to do that anything else outside of that didn’t even exist to me. But after being immersed in the day-to-day activities of TVO’s Legal Services and Business Affairs department, I was exposed to numerous different areas of law beyond just intellectual property. I was given projects that not only challenged me to make the appropriate recommendations, but to also quickly teach myself enough about each new area in order to fully appreciate the issue before me. Every day presented something different from the last and I became excited to find myself learning about real estate, CRTC regulations, CMF guidelines, advertising and contest rules, privacy law, and even pensions and trusts. It seems somewhat ironic that a passion for IP drove me to apply to this program and now as a result of having taken part I’m left wanting to explore other areas of the law. Spending ten weeks working in-house at TVO has opened my eyes to many new possibilities for my future.

This was truly such a positive experience for me. And a large part of that was a result of the TVO staff. I was made to feel welcome and a part of the group right from day one. The entire department supports each other as a whole and everyone from both Legal Services and Business Affairs were all too eager and willing to help guide and offer me advice. I feel lucky to say that I made friendships that will last well beyond my time spent at TVO.

 

Heather Pringle is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.

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