Students in the course will complete a research project to deepen their understanding of an area of particular interest to them, and to articulate their own views on the issues. Extensive student-professor interaction and feedback on interim deliverables, at students’ initiative, can ensure high calibre outputs, some of which could be of publishable quality.
Your ongoing virtual and/or classroom engagement counts for 5% of your grade, according to these guidelines:
- 5. Exceptional Contributor: Contributions reflect exceptional preparation. Ideas offered are always substantive, provide one or more major insights as well as direction for the class. Challenges are well substantiated and persuasively presented. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would be diminished markedly.
- 4. Very Good Contributor: Contributions reflect thorough preparation. Ideas offered are usually substantive, provide good insights and sometimes direction for the class. Challenges are well substantiated and often persuasive. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would be diminished.
- 3. Good Contributor: Contributions reflect satisfactory preparation. Ideas offered are sometimes substantive, provide generally useful insights but seldom offer a new direction for the discussion. Challenges are sometimes presented, fairly well substantiated, and are sometimes persuasive. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would be diminished somewhat.
- 2. Non-Participant: This person contributes little or nothing. Hence, there is not an adequate basis for evaluation. If this person were not a member of the class, the quality of discussion would not be changed.
- 1. Unsatisfactory Contributor: Contributions reflect inadequate preparation. Ideas offered are seldom substantive, provide few if any insights and never a constructive direction for the class. Integrative comments and effective challenges are absent. If this person were not a member of the class, valuable air-time would be saved.
Most of your grade will be determined by several deliverables over the course of the term, culminating in your paper: • Virtual and classroom engagement (5%), ongoing;
- Topic and abstract (10%), due Friday, February 22, 2013;
- Annotated references (15%), due Friday, March 22, 2013;
- In-class presentation (20%), during March 27 – April 8;
- Final paper (50%), due Wednesday, April 24, 2013.
Written assignments must be uploaded to our uOttawa Virtual Campus class page before 11h59 EST on the date they are due.
An effective research paper requires a timely start, so the first part of your assignment (worth 10% of your grade) requires you to submit to a 500-word abstract describing the topic you have chosen to write about, the research methods and analytical framework you plan to use, an explanation of how your perspective fits into the existing research, and a preliminary discussion of conclusions you hope or expect to reach. You will be evaluated on the degree to which you demonstrate effort, originality and clarity of vision.
Your second deliverable (15%) is an annotated reference list of the sources you will rely upon for your paper. Your references should balance primary sources (statutes and cases) and secondary sources (books, articles and commentary), depending upon your proposed methods and perspectives. You will be evaluated on the range and depth of sources of you identify, the appropriateness of those sources to your chosen topic, and your ability to concisely (in one or two sentences per source) summarize their relevance to and likely use in your paper.
The third component (20%) of the research project is an in-class presentation. You have 5-7 minutes to convey to classmates your insights on the topic you have chosen. Slides, maps and other audio-visual presentation aids are optional; you’ll be evaluated on the appropriate and effective use of such tools (sometimes, presenting without tech aids is most appropriate for your topic or style). You will also be evaluated on timing, clarity and the overall impression you make. Peer evaluation and feedback will be integrated as a minor percentage of the grades I award.
Your final deliverable (50%) is the paper itself, due the last day of the exam period, Wednesday, April 24, 2012 before 23h59 EST. Papers must be between 5,000 to 7,500 words, but beyond that, I have no rigid requirements as to form, particularly if you’re working within the conventions of a discipline other than law.
I do not expect this assignment to be a purely academic exercise. Many people in Canada’s community of leading digital music/media/entertainment law practitioners regularly contribute written papers for law journals, industry conferences or professional symposia. The Law Society of Upper Canada’s recent Annual Intellectual Property Year in Review and the upcoming 2013 Entertainment and Media Law Symposium, or other industry events like this recent copyright conference, are good examples of places that practitioners write and present about their areas of expertise. In fact, you can see on those agendas the names of several alumni of this very uOttawa course.
You might also gain insights about possible directions for your papers from my own work at the intersection of digital media policy and practice, although I am not suggesting that you must mimic my scholarship. Many of the following papers, however, provide context for this class, and are recommended readings on some of our topics. In fact, some of these papers were written with assistance from—or in collaboration with—students like you. Check out, for example, a paper about the role of the Copyright Board of Canada (where I practiced as legal counsel before becoming an academic); my work on legal strategies to profit from peer production; a paper co-authored with a former digital media law student about online copyright enforcement through service providers; and this one about the role of levies in Canadian digital music market. Those are just a few examples you’ll see throughout the course.
Your paper must either present an original thesis, reform proposal, or critique. Evaluation criteria are:
- Clarity of expression: How cogent and clear is the writing? Are there any evident grammatical errors? Does the writing communicate ideas effectively?
- Logical structure: How well is the paper pieced together? Are headings and sub-headings used effectively? How well does the paper "flow"?
- Quality of research: How many sources does the author rely upon? Is there original/primary research? How novel and difficult to find are the sources?
- Development of thesis: Does the paper propose a proposition to be proved or disproved? Does the paper present an argument to be defended or countered? Does the paper avoid straying into the overly descriptive? Does the paper provide an effective critique/analysis of a particular area of the law? How well is the thesis/topic/theme developed in the paper? Is there a solid conclusion highlighting the important findings of the paper? How persuasive was the paper to the reader?
Academic fraud: All instances of fraud will be reported for investigation and sanction. Familiarize yourself with the University Academic Fraud Regulations, the University Policy on Plagiarism, and academic integrity:
The University disciplinary process for academic fraud can result in penalties ranging from loss of credits for the course to expulsion. Academic fraud must also be reported to the Law Society of Upper Canada, which in turn may refuse you admission to practice law in the province.
Accommodation and Support Late submission of assignments cannot be accepted unless prior express approval has been obtained from either the Manager of Academic Affairs or the Manager of Equity and Academic Success. All Common Law Professors lack discretionary authority to make special accommodations in individual circumstances. Arrangements must be made directly with the relevant manager. Students who require accommodations or academic support because of a physical or learning disability, or any condition that affects their ability to learn, are invited to contact the University’s Access Services, or our own Faculty's Student Services. All information provided to Access Services and all accommodations received remain strictly confidential. Office: UCU 339 Telephone: 613.562.5976 TTY: 613.562.5214 E-mail:
For additional information you may contact Jessica Simon in Student Services (Manager, Equity and Academic Success) at
or at 613.562.5800 x 8891.