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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

European Academy of ICT Law / Co-Reach summer school 2011 (Reichenau, Austria)

Published: 19 September 2011
 2011 Event Participants

Nine students from the School of Law at the University of Southampton were fortunate to have the opportunity of attending this year's IP and IT law summer school, held in the small village of Reichenau, in Austria.

Funded by the Co-Reach project , the aim of the summer school was to bring together students from a range of countries to discover and debate issues relating to the role of intellectual property rights in the digital society, and also to discuss emergent issues in information technology.

This year's intellectual property sessions had a particular emphasis on copyright, with consideration of both the traditional view of copyright - including the challenges faced by copyright owners in an environment in which copyright works can be so easily copied and distributed, and by service providers and other companies looking to develop innovative online services - as well as alternative views of copyright, in the form of greater rights for re-use and remix.

The information technology section of the school covered a broad range of issues, including the ongoing challenge of privacy in an online society, the European Commission's Digital Agenda and the role of online service providers, tying the sessions in neatly with the earlier discussions on copyright. In particular, there were two highly practical sessions, one focussed on realities of providing legal advice to a company looking to operate an online photograph hosting service, and one designed to give students an experience of acting for a client in negotiating a contract for a cloud computing service.

One of the key aims - and benefits - of the summer school was to encourage students from around the world to share their views, and explain their local country positions, of the topics discussed, as well as working together with students from different legal backgrounds. Whilst debate was perhaps slow to start, by the end of the week, students were openly discussing and commenting on the issues at hand - aided in no small part by a combination of the daily group sessions, where students worked together to tackle assignments aimed at merging academic knowledge and understanding with practical advice, and the social events, including wine tasting, bowling and a walk on the nearby Snow Mountain. The week culminated with presentations of the various group assignments - not only had people's lack of confidence in speaking in front of a substantial group entirely faded away, but some even appeared to be having fun in the process.

We are grateful to the University of Southampton - the School of Law, and Professor Sylvia Kierkegaard in particular - for the opportunity to attend the summer school, and for the learnings and friendships which each of us took from our week in Austria.

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