IP/Arts Externships

Explore IP/arts externships:

Teri Silvers and Karen Sandler, Lecturers-in-Law, 4 credits (2 for the seminar; 2 for fieldwork)

Course Description
This course provides students with practical experience in intellectual property, entertainment and nonprofit law as they assist staff attorneys at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) in their representation of artists and nonprofit arts organizations. Through class discussions and journals, students reflect on the wide variety of clients and issues they encounter in their fieldwork, and engage in critical thinking about the role that law and lawyers play in the arts and entertainment world.

The Seminar
Students attend weekly two-hour seminars designed to reinforce and expand on their work at VLA through discussion of cases, agreements, reflections from student journals and analyses of the concepts from various readings. We cover topics such as copyright, trademark, not-for-profit law, music rights and intellectual property licensing, as well as practical skills students need to work effectively at VLA, such as client interviewing, client counseling, and contract negotiation. There are assigned readings and journals or short papers due each week.

In a typical 14-week semester, students spend 11 hours each week working at VLA, for a total of 144 hours for the semester. The work is split over two days, in two shifts that must fall between VLA's working hours of 10-6 pm. VLA's clients are low-income artists and nonprofit arts organizations. Their legal concerns fall primarily into the areas of copyright, not-for-profit incorporation and tax exemption, trademarks, the music industry, and other arts and entertainment related areas. Clients typically seek assistance reviewing, negotiating and/or drafting contracts; resolving disputes; protecting copyrights and/or trademarks; and becoming a nonprofit tax-exempt organization. Students will prepare for and participate in client intake, clinics and consultations. They will spend at least half their time on substantive research projects assigned by VLA staff attorneys, on issues arising from client representation, VLA educational programs and advocacy. Students participate in two role-playing exercises: a client counseling session and a negotiation.

Important Information
Students receive four credits – two academic credits for the seminar and two clinical credits for the fieldwork. The seminar will be graded with letter grades. The fieldwork will be graded Credit/No Credit. Grades will be based on class participation, written work and performance in the simulated exercises. Performance in the fieldwork portion of the course can influence the grade for the seminar by half a grade in either direction (e.g. poor performance at VLA will lower an A- to a B+).

David Marriott and David Kappos, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 2 ungraded fieldwork credits)

This externship is only offered in the Fall semester

Course Description
The Copyright Dispute Resolution Externship is comprised of (a) a weekly, two-hour seminar, focused on the issues arising in copyright litigation, and (b) 10 hours per week of fieldwork in copyright dispute resolution in actual cases (handled pro bono). The course will be limited to eight students.

Students will receive four credits total: two graded academic credits for the in-class seminar and two ungraded credits for the fieldwork component. The seminar will be graded on weekly class participation, assignments and simulations. The course will be taught in the fall, and will be open to J.D. and LL.M. candidates. Students participating in this externship should have had a prior course in copyright law or otherwise have significant background in copyright law.

Seminar content and fieldwork will focus on the key elements of copyright dispute resolution. Those elements include, among other things, evaluating a case; drafting a complaint and preparing an answer; managing motions for a preliminary injunction; serving and responding to written discovery; taking and defending depositions; meeting with experts; dealing with dispositive motions; trying the case; negotiating settlements; and drafting licensing agreements.

A basic goal of the Externship is to teach students to understand the policy and doctrine of copyright law and to effectively handle the various tasks that arise in seeking to resolve copyright disputes. This will be facilitated both by the seminar and through fieldwork comprised of representing real clients in actual copyright cases (handled pro bono).

The course will be taught, and fieldwork supervised, by David Kappos and David Marriott, both partners at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. David Kappos was Undersecretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office during the first Obama Administration. David Marriott is a litigator whose practice focuses on complex litigation including copyright litigation.

The Copyright Dispute Resolution Externship will identify cases/clients (to be used in fieldwork) with the assistance of the Copyright Alliance. The Copyright Alliance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest and educational organization representing artists, creators and innovators across the spectrum of copyright disciplines.

The Cravath firm provides its assurance that students participating in the Copyright Dispute Resolution Externship will receive an educational experience related to the practice oflaw and that they will be assigned exclusively to non-fee-generating pro bono matters.

The Seminar
Using the Copyright Litigation Handbook by Raymond Dowd, the weekly seminar held at the Cravath office will address the policies and doctrines of copyright law and the basic elements of copyright litigation. The seminar will not only include traditional classroom discussion but will also present the issues in the context of an actual copyright dispute, which students will handle as part of their fieldwork. Discussion of current cases being handled by students will be included in the seminar sessions, as applicable. In addition to discussion of legal materials and some academic scholarship, the seminar sessions will include role-playing.

The proposed syllabus outlines in detail the weekly seminar topics and associated readings. Assignments will be based on one or more hypotheticals presented at the beginning of the semester. Those hypotheticals will be carried through the semester, to ensure continuity and efficient focus on building skills across a defined set of facts throughout the semester. It is expected that guest lecturers will join at least two of the seminars to provide differing policy and/or practice perspectives.

In addition to the seminar, students will undertake 10 hours per week of hands-on fieldwork on actual copyright disputes (handled pro bono). Students will work in four teams of two to represent actual clients in real disputes. Under the close supervision of Cravath lawyers expert in copyright matters, students will, as circumstances permit, evaluate a case; draft a complaint and prepare an answer; work up motions for a preliminary injunction; prepare written discovery; take and defend depositions; meet with experts; draft dispositive motions; participate in settlement negotiations; and draft licensing agreements.

Students are expected to represent musicians, authors, visual artists and other creators in cases sourced in collaboration with The Copyright Alliance. Generally, it is expected that students will assume responsibility for their case in the period just prior to filing the complaint and that they will handle most aspects of the case that arise during the course of the semester. Students will learn to transition onto and/or off of existing cases, as will be required in actual practice.

Students will receive an educational experience related to the practice of law. In that connection, they will be assigned exclusively to non-fee-generating pro bono matters.

Requirements and Application Process
This externship is only offered in the fall. 

To apply, please complete the externship application available through LawNet. The application period can be found on the Experiential Learning home page (https://law.columbia.edu/academics/experiential). Prospective applicants may be contacted for an interview once all applications have been submitted.


Ben Gross, Lecturer-in-Law, 4 credits (2 for seminar; 4 for fieldwork)

Course Description
Founded in 2009, Genius is the world's most popular destination for song lyrics and music knowledge—reaching more than 100 million fans every month. Genius is a leading brand in music online, producing popular video series like Verified, Deconstructed, Genius News, and Open Mic. Genius’s mission is to celebrate “more than the music”—the lyrics, the stories behind the songs, and the connections that drive culture forward. Students participating in this externship will provide pro bono educational and legal services to artists navigating their early careers in the music industry. This externship is an extension of Genius’s BEAT program. Launched in August 2020, Genius BEAT—Business Education for Aspiring Talent—offers aspiring artists free educational seminars covering core topics in the music business. Through the externship, these artists will have access to personalized legal advice and representation in connection with their music careers. As part of Genius’s ongoing commitment to Black communities, the externship and Genius BEAT will both specifically seek to serve young Black artists, especially those living and working in New York City. The goal of the externship is to give CLS students an opportunity to gain real experience while serving a population that is historically underserved and exploited. This externship is taught by Ben Gross, Genius's General Counsel.

The Seminar
The weekly seminar will cover core topics in the music business, including music publishing, label agreements, negotiation, management arrangements, appearances, sponsorship, and more. Students will: learn how music rights interface with the actual music industry, take a deep dive into a real-life label agreement (Kanye’s!), participate in simulated negotiations, and more.

Students will team up with a supervising attorney to represent and advise local artists. Students will help their clients: protect their work, structure collaborations, evaluate manager/label/publisher agreements, and more. Students will also work with Genius’ artist relations & legal team to build out materials for future Genius BEAT seminars.

Important Information
The course will be limited to 6 students and is open to JD and LL.M. candidates. There are no prerequisites to take this course