What is something you wish you knew as a first-year student?
If you had told me when I first started my law degree at ANU that I would be advocating passionately for other students to study intellectual property, I would have been surprised. At the start of my degree I was primarily interested in learning about access to justice and human rights. However, while studying IP I begun to understand how IP rights shape almost every aspect of our society today. For example, when large corporations claim IP rights over information, they can become enormously profitable to the detriment of those less powerful. We have seen this time and time again in situations like the HIV/AIDS epidemic and pharmaceutical industries, Monsanto and the Hollywood film industry. Studying IP enriched my degree because it allowed me to see how processes that we may not initially think are important can fundamentally shape our human rights and the structure of our society.
What advice would you give future ANU Law students about IP?
There are many reasons that people should take an interest in IP law. IP is a key factor that shapes both economic and political society. It therefore also plays an important role in shaping inequality around the world. Since IP exists to encourage technological innovation and creativity, it will play a key role in our future as we confront challenges such as climate change, food security and global health.
Read Emma Jagot's take on intellectual property law here.