TVO: Igniting Potential Through the Power of Learning (IP Intensive Reflection)

Lamont Abranczyk 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.

This past fall, I completed an internship at TVO as part of Osgoode Hall Law School’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program (IP Intensive). TVO is one of Ontario’s foremost educational television networks, making it an ideal destination for anyone interested in broadcasting. Operating under the Ontario Educational Communications Authority (OECA), TVO has been delivering thought-provoking documentaries, in-depth current affairs and children’s programming to Canadian households for over fifty years. In addition, the company has also recently begun offering digital education services geared towards elementary and high school students. Through products such as Mathify and the Independent Learning Centre (ILC), children can access remote tutoring and complete courses for credit towards their OSSD. During my ten-week placement, I gained invaluable experience working under the direct supervision of TVO’s in-house counsel, Mark Le Blanc (General Counsel) and Patricia Cavalhier (Legal Counsel). I am truly grateful to have had an opportunity to work with them this semester.

Drafting Agreements

During my first few days at TVO, I was introduced to the company’s acquisition officers. In addition to producing original content, TVO partners with co-producers and licenses the rights to programs created by independent third parties. TVO’s acquisition officers are primarily responsible for brokering these deals. I had several opportunities to work with them throughout the semester, revising agreements and updating their templates’ standard terms and conditions. These tasks enabled me to improve my legal drafting skills while simultaneously gaining insight into the Canadian broadcasting industry. Along the way, I was introduced to standard industry practices, terminology and guidelines.

Privacy and Access to Information Requests

TVO is currently in the process of updating its privacy policies and procedures. The company is in a unique position because it is not subject to either the Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) or the Privacy Act. Nonetheless, TVO is eager to facilitate access to personal information requests and wants to be prepared in case it becomes captured by new federal privacy laws. I am very interested in privacy rights, so I was ecstatic when my supervisors asked me to review and summarize Bill C-11 for them. Although Bill C-11 recently died on the order of paper, Parliament will likely introduce some variation of the Bill when it updates Canada’s federal privacy law regime. While reviewing Bill C-11, I also had an opportunity to review Canada’s current privacy laws. I have a much better understanding of this area of law now as a result.

CASL

Another interesting area of law that I was previously unfamiliar with but had an opportunity to dive into this semester was Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). A manager from TVO’s marketing department came to my supervisors with a question concerning emails and implied consent and I was asked to review CASL and help respond to the inquiry. The question itself related to a grey area of law, so we had to be very careful when drafting our response. One of in-house counsel’s primary goals is to mitigate risk, so it is important to consider all outcomes when responding to legal questions. In addition to reviewing CASL, I also searched for case law addressing the marketing department’s activities.

Workplace Dynamic

I only had a couple of opportunities to visit TVO’s office in person this semester but was still able to forge close relationships with my coworkers and never felt like an outsider. Despite working remotely, my supervisors made a concerted effort to ensure I was comfortable by scheduling weekly coffee chats and giving me opportunities to speak during meetings. Moreover, they never asked me to complete arbitrary assignments. My supervisors always provided me with background information about the tasks I was completing, which made me feel as though I was making meaningful contributions to their team.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience at TVO and couldn’t be happier with how my placement unfolded. My supervisors exposed me to the broadcasting industry and areas of law I had not yet encountered up until that point during my time in law school. If you are reading this reflection with your sights set on Osgoode Hall Law School’s IP Intensive, I highly recommend applying to TVO.

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