Copyright Policy-making Moot

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to make intellectual property policy? Here’s your chance to experience law reform in action. A tiny group of selected students will participate in a moot unlike any other. Rather than preparing a factum, we’ll teach you the art of a different sort of persuasive writing: the “Memorandum to Cabinet”. And instead of arguing before judges, you’ll be trained to persuade Cabinet Ministers and other senior policymakers that your ideas should become law.

This course stems from a collaboration between the Departments of Canadian Heritage (PCH) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), and the faculties of law at McGill University, University of Montreal, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and York University (Osgoode Hall). It has been conceived as a way for students to gain instruction and experience in public policy thinking, drafting and briefing.

While the problems are centred on intellectual property, specifically copyright, the experience you gain will be extraordinarily useful in the private or public sector. For students contemplating a career in government, this is an unparalleled chance to acquire new skills. For students thinking about private practice, there’s no better way than this to get an insider’s perspective.

Teams of students will research and prepare a thorough policy report, prepared as a Memorandum to Cabinet, under the supervision of university professors, departmental officials and policy experts, in response to one of three policy thematics. The thematics will be provided by the Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch of PCH and the Marketplace Framework Policy Branch of ISED, corresponding to current policy issues identified by the branches in the course of their work on copyright.

The teams will be called to present orally their work before a panel of experts and officials – such as policy analysts, academics, industry stakeholders and political decision makers – at the “Grand Oral” in Ottawa in March 2018. This will be a unique opportunity for students to showcase their skills, legal talents and imagination, where they will pitch to and receive feedback from those responsible for copyright policy on issues that are contemporary and relevant.

In addition, the course is uniquely timed to coincide with the s. 92 parliamentary review of the Copyright Act, which may serve as a live feed informing the students’ work. So your work isn’t merely academic. You’ve got a real chance to shape Canadian copyright policy.

The teams will be convened to work together with the professor and their peers during intensive sessions in preparation of their work before the oral competition. At least two of those sessions will be taught by Canadian government officials on policy development, drafting and briefing in the context of Canadian copyright law.