Hot Off the Press: A Look into my Fall Internship at CBC (IP Intensive Reflection)

Eloise Somera is an IP Intensive student and a 3L JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. As part of the course requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.

Over the past Fall 2021 semester, I have been privileged to participate in the Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program (IP Intensive) at Osgoode and complete a ten-week internship at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Radio-Canada (CBC). My supervisor, Dan Ciraco, Director & Senior Legal Counsel, along with my weekly mentors at CBC always made me feel like a valued member of their teams. I can confidently say that this internship is one of the highlights of my law school experience.

At the start of each week at CBC, I met with a new lawyer mentor either from the Business Law or Media Law Groups. We would go over the work I had done until that point and gauge my interest in the files they had been working on. It goes without saying that I began my internship with a strong interest in IP law. However, Dan outlined the importance of keeping an open mind to different types of work that relate to IP law throughout my internship and in my legal career in general. With this in mind, I welcomed all of the work assigned to me by my mentors. And, in the process of completing my tasks, I gained knowledge in legal areas that I had not previously considered, such as procurement, defamation, namely responsible communication, and litigation, including legal holds. Furthermore, a lot of these tasks required me to draft case summaries in relation to these topics, which allowed me to strengthen my legal research and writing skills.

A task in particular that stood out was the drafting of a response to a copyright infringement claim. While drafting this letter, I met with internal stakeholders at CBC and in turn got an exclusive look into the scope of the legal team’s responsibility over the entire organization. Similarly, when working on a procurement-related topic, the findings of which I later presented to the Business Law Group at one of their monthly meetings, I learned just how challenging it is to balance CBC’s interests with suppliers’ interests when coming to an agreement on goods and services.

As for the Media Law Group, a major highlight for me was participating in the vetting process of different news stories to be published by CBC. It was interesting to see how the lawyers interacted with journalists; particularly, how they explained complex legal topics and raised legal risks in comprehensive ways. In relation to this process, in my own research, it was also interesting to learn about defamation claims and the different arguments that are available to CBC when defending against them.

In my work for both the Business Law and Media Law Groups, I was also exposed to various IP-related issues that allowed me to see a lot of what I had learned from previous IP courses be applied in practice. For instance, I got to see the process behind integrating brands and their products in CBC programming. I also got to see the reality of how often CBC faces potential copyright infringement claims and in turn, the defences they prepare in response to them, such as fair dealing.

Overall, my internship experience at CBC was extremely rewarding. Each one of my tasks was meaningful and my mentors always made a point of ensuring that I saw how they contributed to the bigger picture of the legal team. I was challenged to step outside of my comfort zone and take full ownership over my tasks. Most importantly, despite this internship being virtual for another year in a row, the weekly team check-ins never made me feel like I had missed out on the full internship experience. I am extremely grateful to CBC and the IP Intensive for helping me kick-start my legal career. Not only was I able to contribute to real life legal challenges, but I was also taught the basics of communicating with legal professionals, managing competing deadlines, and supporting the client’s interests. I strongly urge my peers at Osgoode to apply to the IP Intensive to get a change of pace from the regular academic semester and to take advantage of a unique and fulfilling experience either at CBC or at another one of the equally amazing placements offered.

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