CopyrightX 2014 Turin Satellite

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Copyright x
Turin, 27 July 2014
by Giancarlo Frosio

A few weeks ago, the CopyrightX program came to an end. CopyrightX is a twelve-week networked course, offered each Spring under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. This year CopyrightX saw the direct involvement of the Nexa Center and the University of Turin, which offered an affiliated satellite program. Since 2013, CopyrightX has promoted satellite courses based in countries other than the United States, in addition to the Harvard residential course, taught by Professor William Fisher, and an online course including 525 participants, divided into 21 sections, taught by Harvard teaching fellows. This edition, I had the opportunity to lead and coordinate the Turin Satellite under the supervision of Professor Marco Ricolfi.

The 2014 Turin satellite met online through Adobe Connect on Friday mornings from 9 to 11 am UTC for 12 weeks from the beginning of February to the end of April 2014.

The satellite was a diverse group, both geographically and professionally. It gathered students from the Law School of Turin and former participants in the LL.M. program in Intellectual Property Law jointly organized by the University of Turin and the World Intellectual Property Organization. The majority of participants were Italian nationals attending the Turin University Law School and having previously taken an IP class as part of their law school curriculum. Almost half of the participants were chosen among WIPO-Turin LLMs alumni. Five continents were represented in the class. This has assured diversity in class discussion, especially looking at copyright law from an international perspective and allowing considering better the necessary balancing of interests that copyright policy and theory should entail.

The course explored the current law of copyright with special emphasis on the U.S. system and the ongoing debates concerning how that law should be reformed. Through a combination of pre-recorded lectures, weekly seminars, live webcasts, and online discussions, participants in the course examined and assessed the ways in which law seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression. The Turin Satellite syllabus is available here. The syllabus was customized with EU materials and a limited amount of additional readings, with special emphasis on EU-US comparative analysis, public domain issues, copyright theories and historical perspectives of copyright and creativity. Apparently, the participants have greatly enjoyed the time dedicated to studying copyright theories, as well as discussions related to the historical underpinnings of copyright theories and notions of creativity. The clear understanding of the rationale and theoretical background leading to the implementation of copyright norms constantly forced the participants to challenge present policy arrangements in light of alternative theories for promoting creativity.

In addition, participants were offered the opportunity to participate into special events and contribute to online discussion forums. Turin satellite’s participants set up their own Facebook group to discuss and share notes, materials, news and other information.

The Turin Satellite had a strict attendance policy, so that participants qualified for taking the final exam if attended at least 10 online seminars out of the 12 that were finally offered. Out of 30 initial participants, 6 did not meet the attendance requirements. The Turin Satellite exam window opened on May 8 at 000 UCT and closed on May 13 at 000 UTC. The exam itself proved to be a splendid learning opportunity as the students truly took the exam as a moment to organize and review all the materials they have processed up to that point. Among the 24 participants in good attendance, 18 passed the final exam. Overall, the participants have done extremely well in their final exam.

This partnership between Harvard CopyrightX, the Nexa Center and the University of Turin proved to be an extremely exciting and rewarding learning experience. The Turin CopyrightX Satellite will take place the next year as well and, we hope, for many years to come.

If you have a special interest in creativity and copyright policies and would like to participate into the next edition of the program, please get in touch with Nexa for additional information. Admissions to the next edition of the program will be finalized in December 2014.