I still remember the day I found out that I would be spending my IP Intensive internship at The Globe and Mail (“The Globe”). Excited does not even begin to describe how I felt about my placement. When I was younger, I always imagined what it would be like to work at a big newspaper or magazine. I loved watching movies where the female protagonist navigated her way through the journalism and publishing world. Although I have not pursued writing as a career, I am grateful that my legal education has given me the opportunity to be emerged in this world.
Going into my internship, I thought I would be dealing with a lot of copyright and defamation work directly related to published content. Although I have touched on a bit of this, the role of in-house counsel at one of Canada’s most prominent media companies is much more than that. I guess I was naïve in thinking that life at The Globe was going to be exactly like those movies I watched as a kid. With the rise of digital content, I was exposed to so much more technology related work than I expected. I will be honest and admit that it was a bit intimidating at first, but as someone who still writes her class notes with a pen and a piece of paper, I chose to embrace the complexities of the digital world.
I had the privilege of working with all three of The Globe’s legal counsel who are well versed in a range of different areas including advertising, privacy, competition and intellectual property and technology. While doing my best to support the legal team in any way I could, I was able to sharpen my research, drafting and agreement review skills. Drafting, a skill that is definitely on the back burner in law school, is part of the everyday life of in-house counsel and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work on this skill under some of the industry’s best. I have learned to appreciate experimental learning on another level by venturing outside of my comfort zone and learning from my mistakes in a real world environment. Additionally, watching the team support the business while keeping up with changing laws (such as the legalization of cannabis, and debates on privacy and competition laws) made me realize how important the team is to the organization.
I was exposed to a range of different agreements including those related to advertising, purchase and sale, events, and content production. Even though the first Software as a Service (SaaS) Agreement I looked at seemed to be written in a different language, over time I became more familiar with all of the moving parts and “tech lingo”. I also learned the ins and outs of various terms and conditions and how they function as the backbone of various purchase orders and statements of work.
One of the most interesting things I worked on was agreements for freelancers. I was exposed to the ongoing debate about the bargaining power of large media organizations and freelancer rights. I reopened my copyright summary from last semester and dove back into the details of the Robertson v Thomson case in an effort to draft language to encompass the constantly advancing digital world.
I was also fortunate enough to be a part of real time copyright related conversations and helped draft Notice of Infringement letters and responses to the replies of third parties. This also involved diving deeper into some previously studied case law (such as CCH v LSUC) to clarify the legal test of “fair dealing” to infringing parties.
All in all, my experience at The Globe has given me the practical experience that the classroom lacks and a strong appreciation for in-house counsel in the ever evolving media industry. I should also note that The Globe’s new building near the distillery district is pretty great too! I think it is safe to say that journalism might be the main attraction, but the legal team is the glue holding it together.
Written by Lauren Chypyha, 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.