IP Intensive: It Only Gets Interesting from Here - A Semester at The Globe and Mail

Do you know when the first court case involving The Globe and Mail was? It’s okay… I didn’t know either, until a few weeks ago. Here’s a hint: it was before the two separate newspapers of The Globe and The Mail became one in 1936. Here’s another hint: it was before The Mail even existed, since that paper wasn’t founded until 1872, some 28 years after George Brown founded The Globe in 1844.

Needless to say that when I started my internship at The Globe and Mail, as part of Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program, I didn’t expect to have to research over-150-year-old case law. But now, thanks to The Globe and Mail, I know where to find the full texts of pre-confederation court reporters online. And no, it isn’t as simple as searching on CanLII.

What I did expect, when I started at The Globe and Mail was the type of legal work that comes with being Canada’s pre-eminent newspaper: some copyright law, some defamation law, and maybe some freedom of the press to spice things up. What I soon came to realize is that becoming a leading newspaper is all about exceeding and defying expectations, especially at a time when newspapers (and print media writ large) are struggling to stay relevant. And so, what I ended up working on was anything but what I expected.

The Globe and Mail is more than a newspaper; it is a full-blown media company that takes a unique approach to delivering a diverse array of content. For example, during my first two weeks, The Globe and Mail launched its Report on Business: Cannabis Professional, in anticipation of marijuana legalization in Canada. And in my time at The Globe and Mail, I gained insight into the different legal issues at play in the evolving landscape of publishing. I learned how The Globe and Mail develops and delivers advertising campaigns that meet the same high standards as company’s journalism. I learned what is and is not allowed when it comes to the advertising of recreational marijuana and pharmaceuticals in Canada. I also learned about the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Ad Choices, and the important role that self-regulatory programs play in the world of online advertising. And, on a related note, I got to dive into the uncharted waters of Canada’s new data-breach reporting rules, which have important (and confusing) implications for both buyers and sellers of online advertising in Canada.

I did also get to spend time working on copyright issues, but not in relation to The Globe’s journalism; rather in relation to software. Really this should have been no surprise, after all “software is eating the world” (and has been doing so for some time already). But what I really didn’t expect when it came to the software issues, was the role that licensing agreements play in the development and deployment of new software. Sure, I understood software terms and conditions were important, but never did I expect that they would be interesting!

All-in-all, my time at The Globe and Mail was a crash course in embracing the unexpected. Staying one-step ahead of Canada’s news means never falling a step-behind new laws, new business models, and (really) anything new; a fact that is not lost on team at The Globe and Mail. But beyond the novel legal questions and interesting research topics, what I really could not have expected was how welcoming The Globe and Mail was… oh, and just how often the finance department had an overwhelming assortments of delicious snacks. But that’s another story.

 

Written by Stephen Cooley.  Stephen is an IPilogue Senior Editor and 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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