Copyright Dispute Resolution Externship to Launch This Fall

The CLS externship program will welcome a new addition to its curriculum this fall – an externship focused on Copyright Dispute Resolution. Founded by two partners at Cravath, David Marriott and David Kappos, who will co-teach the course, the externship aims to give students experience working on real-life copyright cases with creative professionals.

 “We’re trying to marry the theoretical with the practical in a real-world context,” said Marriot. “We’re … focused on finding issues that can be managed in the period of the course and present students the opportunity to do the things we’re learning in the class.”

The course will consist of two components, a seminar portion and a fieldwork portion, which students will complete simultaneously throughout the semester.

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 10.28.45 PMThe seminar portion will feature mock exercises focused on litigation skills such as drafting cease-and-desist letters, taking depositions, and participating in trials, and will also guide students through various components of the copyright dispute resolution process. Students will apply these skills in the fieldwork portion by working on real-life copyright cases. Through a partnership with The Copyright Alliance, a non-profit that works with clients in creative fields facing a variety of copyright issues, the instructors have been in the process of selecting the cases students will work on.

As a litigation partner, Marriott had been turning over the idea of starting a copyright-related externship for a while. Since he himself had not discovered his own interest in copyright law until he began working on a years-long case with IBM at Cravath, he wanted to give students a chance to discover and explore this area of law earlier in their careers. So, when Kappos arrived at Cravath in 2013 after more than three years as the Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Marriott raised the idea with him, and together they proposed their program to Columbia.

“Copyright combines a fun subject matter and a really important one that affects people’s lives in ways they don’t always think about,” noted Marriott.

In light of the current Arts Law externship at CLS, which also examines copyright law as one of many potential issues that affect clients in creative fields, Marriott and Kappos hope to ensure that the two externships will be complementary to each other, rather than in competition.

“Students should feel like they can transition from one to the next without feeling like they’ve done the same things,” said Marriott.

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