“How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love IP Law: My Semester at CBC”

If I could stay at CBC, I honestly would. My time at CBC was a whirlwind of practical legal education filled with exciting and treasured opportunities that are not normally available to law students so early in their legal careers. I began my internship a little nervous and intimidated by the fact that I was going to be interning at such a big corporation, but my fear was quickly extinguished. I was warmly welcomed into the CBC legal family, and I was happy to learn as much as I could in such a welcoming environment.

My placement at CBC was part of Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program, which is an innovative practicum program allowing students to gain specialized experience through a placement at an IP law-based organization. When I began my internship, I was given a crash course in the practice of IP, media, and business law. It was hard to say which of these practice groups were my favourite because I gleaned so much during my time working in each, and each practice area helped me identify my future career interests.

From the IP angle, copyright and copyright infringement analysis were areas that I grew very familiar with during my internship. From writing research memos and researching recent fair dealing cases, to crafting arguments as part of a fair dealing analysis, I got a fair amount of dealings relating to copyright. My IP experience also included trademark research that dealt with determining what constitutes trademark use. This trademark research gave me an opportunity to appreciate the business strategy behind managing a brand like CBC and just how journalism plays a role in that brand.

As a longstanding and huge fan of CBC’s Marketplace, I was over the moon when one of the media lawyers at CBC invited me to vet a script for an episode. I got to see the underbelly of one of my favourite shows, and I saw what kind of research is done to prepare for such an episode. I learned to scan the script for any instances of potential copyright infringement and defamation claims that could be made against CBC. This led to sitting in on a summary judgement hearing between CBC and Subway, over a previous Marketplace episode that may or may not have had something to do with chicken. This was the first time I ever attended court, and I got to see first hand the inspiring skill behind oral advocacy.

My internship did also comprise of other learning experiences outside of Marketplace. I got to conduct research on impartiality and journalistic integrity leading up to the suit that CBC filed against the Federal Conservative Party. This was the second of three litigation processes that I was involved in during my internship. The third and perhaps most notable litigation, was CBC’s role as an intervenor in a defamation case at the Supreme Court of Canada. I had the privilege of attending court in Ottawa with the media lawyers on a case that will hopefully clarify and redefine anti-SLAPP standards. Leading up to the big day, I watched the counsel meticulously craft their arguments, perfect each phrase, and practice delivering arguments.

The business side of IP and media law at CBC had me reviewing licensing agreements, drafting clauses, and learning about how licensing agreements can impact copyright and the relationships between different media corporations. If someone had told me I would enjoy reviewing contracts before my time at CBC, I would have laughed in their face.

The most meaningful part of my internship was the mentorship the CBC lawyers provided me. I was always welcome to discuss legal issues for further guidance, but the mentorship I received went far beyond that. I was encouraged to pursue extra-curricular activities related to IP, given invaluable law school and career advice. A conversation I had with my supervisor, Dan Ciraco early on in my internship helped me develop a key part of my Master’s thesis, something I am very grateful for and I appreciate the hours of stress that Dan saved me.

All the lawyers I met through my CBC placement told me how they wished they had the opportunity to take a course like the IP Intensive while they were in law school. I recognize that my CBC internship was a once in a lifetime experience and I am very thankful to my CBC supervisor Dan Ciraco, IP Osgoode, Professor D’Agostino, and Professor Vaver.

Written by Julianna Felendzer, Osgoode JD Candidate, enrolled in Professors D’Agostino and Vaver 2019/2020 IP & Technology Law Intensive Program at Osgoode Hall Law School. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.

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