The CopyrightX Experience: A Student Perspective 2020

The Blog written by Daria Sassarini and Meadow Lees, LL.M Candidate in Intellectual Property & The Digital Economy at the University of Glasgow

CopyrightX: CREATe is an exciting and unique opportunity offered to its IP LLM students by CREATe the UK Copyright and Creative Economy Centre based at the School of Law, University of Glasgow in collaboration with Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative and Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society. The CopyrightX project has been developed by Prof. Terry Fisher and is structured in three components: a residential course, an online course, and a set of affiliated courses. Glasgow University joins other top universities across the world offering the course to allow its own students to undertake the twelve-week affiliate course (CopyrightX: CREATe), taught by Dr Thomas Margoni and PhD Candidate and RTA Amy Thomas.

Unlike the teaching methods students are particularly familiar with, the twelve-week affiliate course offers an unequalled experience through a combination of recorded lectures by Professor William Fisher, alongside assigned readings which are then discussed amongst participating students at weekly seminars. An array of key topics were discussed throughout the twelve weeks: key considerations ranging from the theoretical underpinnings of copyright law to the current landscape in US copyright. Consideration was also given to how the current law applies to the modern age of technology. The international diversity of the class led to parallels being drawn from not only EU and US copyright law systems, but also the jurisdictions of international students. This, overall, allowed insight into the differences amongst copyright law systems around the globe.

As part of the affiliate course learning objectives, the students participated in a group project. This year, students were presented with a case study regarding singer/songwriter Taylor Swift and the current legal battle concerning the ownership of her sound recording masters. This opened up a discussion surrounding the subject matter of copyright, moral rights comparisons, freedom of contract considerations, and the theoretical underpinnings of copyright, with specific mention made to the personality and welfare theories. This case study was an interesting selection made by Dr Ula Furgal, and as this is currently an ongoing problem, students are able to observe the future developments in this area. LLM Candidate Hui Lyu commented that, “the Taylor Swift case study left a deep, lasting impression on myself as I was able to interpret the theories introduced by Professor William Fisher and further apply such to Taylor Swift’s situation and distinguish what underlying theories she would most benefit from.”

As eager LLM students specialising in the field of intellectual property, the opportunity to immerse oneself in such an esteemed course has been very rewarding. Due to this course having a focus on the legal framework of copyright law within the United States, students were able to compare such laws to that from within their own jurisdiction. This opened up discussions relating to copyright law specifically within China and the UK, which was very advantageous. As Jiawei Chen looked back on his experience, he found the course to be ‘very impressive.’

As a result of such well-structured classes, in-depth readings and the participation of eager students, CopyrightX: CREATe is highly recommended to those who wish to further their understanding of copyright law from an international perspective. Overall, this has been an interesting endeavour and a very simulative learning experience.

On behalf of all participating students, we would like the praise the efforts of Thomas, Amy, and Ula. Also, to give a special congratulations to Ula whom successfully completed her PhD whilst participating in this course.