Practically perfect in every way? Well it's not bad for a Distance Learning Course in Copyright

Behind every distance learning
course, there's a great postman

(not forgetting the cat)
Almost exactly one year ago, in "Stay close, but keep your distance? No paradox really ...", this Kat posted a short piece about the advantages and attractions of the distance learning programmes in copyright law run by his friends at King's College London. It struck him then that the course on offer was a jolly good one, and he said so. Since then, this Kat has gratified to discover that his opinion of this Diploma/Masters course is shared by others. The organisers report that the 2013/4 iteration of these King's courses was rated under the Higher Education Academy's PTES (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey) and received an overall satisfaction rating from its students of no less than 100%. Ignoring the fact that this perfect score is almost as good as the IPKat's own popularity ratings, the 100% stands well above the average PTES rating of 83% for the 24 leading universities in the Russell Group.

Well, someone thinks so ...
If you missed the fun last year, the King's crew of leading copyright practitioners and academics, unchanged, is back in harness and ready to teach the 2015/2016 version of the course. It's called "UK, EU & US Copyright Law" and it leads to either a Postgraduate Diploma or a Masters Degree (MA) from King's itself. The faculty includes some very special people and, while Mary Poppins is not among them, they do seem to have put together a practically perfect way of teaching copyright to people who want to make the effort to learn. Incidentally, King's College is not that far from the Prince Edward Theatre in London's West End, where the stage version of Mary Poppins ran, hugely successfully, for three years.

The programme spans some 8 months, starting on 1 October 2015 and ending with an examination at King’s in May 2016. While the relevant course materials are delivered straight to your doorstep, there are also prospects for combining face-to-face contact with a bit of socialising via three entirely optional London-based weekend seminars. If you want to take a closer look at the package on offer, and/or register for it, just click here.

Merpel adds: while the King's courses are clearly a popular one with those who register for them, it would be good to know whether distance courses of this nature merely satisfy the interest or curiosity of those who register for them or whether they confer any benefit or advantage on those who gain a Diploma or Masters' degree at the end of their studies.  And do prospective employers appreciate them? It would be great to hear from anyone who has done a postgraduate distance learning course in in any area of IP, whether this one or any other one, as to how helpful they found the experience. Likewise, if you are in the business of employing people who may have them. Comments, please!
Practically perfect in every way? Well it's not bad for a Distance Learning Course in Copyright Practically perfect in every way? Well it's not bad for a Distance Learning Course in Copyright Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, April 27, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. Part 1

    It’s been a while since we communicated – I was very pleased to read your article

    I am a Kings Alumnus on both the Postgraduate and the MA programs, from one of twelve countries where students on the programs came from.

    On a personal level, attending and passing the two (the latter with a Merit) was arguably the most important professional education in my life allowing for the adding of significant value to the community I work in, considerable personal satisfaction, the capacity to consult with ease across multiple copyright law jurisdictions and a new network of international relationships and clients.

    I had the great privilege of being taught by Prof Adrian Sterling, Professor Lionel Bently, Professor Tanya Aplin amongst others – the most superb contemporary collection of thinkers and authors on copyright law one could ever possible hope for.

    The programs were extremely demanding and not for the faint hearted – I read more cases and law than I have ever read. I loved it and drew great wads of knowledge from the experience – one of handful to be awarded an MA in my year (3 out of 37 who started on the Postgraduate)

    Professionally the impact of the knowledge gained from Kings’ Postgraduate and the MA programs has been wide ranging and extensive, with not a negative in sight. I learned first-hand the depth of specialization required in Copyright Law to the extent that I was reminded that asking a (BA level) solicitor/attorney/lawyer to do copyright law was akin to asking a medical GP to do heart or neurosurgery – such was the gulf of skill that these qualifications woke me up to.

    I am forever grateful.

    Probably the most important outcome of my time at Kings, has been the impact on my practise and procedure in a global, internet, digitized world. Knowledge of the patchwork quilt of civil law, common law and harmonized copyright law regimes that the world is made up of, where alternatively national laws stop at national borders or extend as part of regional agreements and all jostle at the WTO (TRIPS) and/or the WIPO Treaties, has had exceptional utility, thanks to the enlightened and dynamic teaching provided for by Kings.

  2. Part 2

    An outcome of Kings was a firm view that digitization, convergence and the internet had to a certain done a number so to speak on the ‘old order’ of the IP bouquet. Those at the coal face of copyright law know very well that copyright law practice:

    * has become the most important member of the IP bouquet, losing its “poor cousin” status and easily displacing trade marks, patents and designs.
    * requires post-graduate qualification to properly practice and service
    * requires (like a doctor) practical experience (and I don’t mean in a law firm, but in a copyright industry)
    · is currently filled with many ‘buskers’ wondering how to make the mental leap from a (trade mark, patent and design) ‘registration’ clickety click IP mind-set to procedurally driven non-registration mind-set of copyright law and daunted by the knowledge and qualifications required. As with Patent Law, a BA qualification no longer suffices.
    * is very badly serviced currently – there is a dearth of practitioners who have the capacity, qualification and skill to see copyright law beyond a national border, never mind within
    * is very badly invested in by those who should know better. Corporates in copyright industries (broadcasters and the like) and others have literally armies of solicitor/attorney/lawyers (graduate level) at hand without a single (postgraduate) qualification in Copyright Law – bad for business
    * quality copyright law skills able to service client needs across a patchwork quilt of civil law, common law and harmonized copyright law regimes are not easily acquired, requiring 3 to 5 years of postgraduate study and at least that many at practice (in a copyright industry, never mind a law firm)
    * the majority of copyright law services are non-litigative, and nowhere is this more apparent than when one spends time in a Business Affairs function for a label, publisher, broadcaster or other copyright industry
    * includes the capacity to write a copyright law opinion

    In closing I have received great benefit and advantage from attending and completing the Kings Postgraduate and the MA programs, enough to know first-hand that with this level of knowledge it is appropriate to consider the barrister approach and set your own chambers.

    For a quality qualified set of copyright law skills and service, not bounded by a national border, the employers out there are numerous and are all ‘customers’ whether such be law firms, barristers (including QC’s), creators, users, NGO’s, Government.

    Copyright Law is arguably the least litigative of the IP bouquet and if one’s concept of law is all about court, then copyright law is not a place for you. Copyright law cases are so expensive to litigate generally that nowhere more in law, it has been opined, does the old Sun Tzu adage “The art of war is to win without a fight” come to bear than with copyright law conflict. Simply put the rewards for solving a complex copyright law challenge are far greater when expertise and knowledge are applied than when litigation and the courts are utilised.

    The extent that I was inspired by the Kings experience has placed me on the PhD path which I will be pleased to report back to you on in the not-too distant future.


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