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MPAA’s Top Lawyer Leaving to Join Viacom (Exclusive)

The top antipiracy exec will over oversee the company’s litigation efforts.

Daniel Mandil

Daniel Mandil, the MPAA’s top antipiracy executive and a key player in its efforts to fight global movie theft and counterfeiting, is leaving the organization for a big job at Viacom, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Mandil, who serves as the movie industry lobbying group’s senior executive vp general counsel and chief content protection officer, has accepted a position overseeing Viacom’s litigation efforts. The MPAA and Viacom declined to comment on the move but sources say Mandil will start at Viacom’s New York headquarters on April 1.

The departure of Mandil, a top MPAA voice and part of the org’s inner decision-making circle, comes as the group is ramping up its search for a permanent topper to replace Dan Glickman, who resigned more than a year ago. Bob Pisano is currently serving as president and interim CEO but has said he is not interested in staying on in the top job. Politico reported on Feb 7 that retired U.S. Senator Chris Dodd was in talks for the CEO position but a rep for Dodd told the LA Times that "He hasn't made any decision yet.”
Mandil seems like a good fit for Viacom. He joined the MPAA in 2009 from a top legal position at Sony BMG, and before that was a litigation partner at Covington & Burling in New York. In December, he backed Viacom in its $1 billion copyright litigation with Google’s YouTube by filing a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the MPAA. As recently as Feb 11, the MPAA sued the so-called “cyberlocking” website Hotfile.com on behalf of Fox, Universal, Columbia and Warner Bros, accusing the site of facilitating copyright infringement on "a staggering scale."
Mandil will report to Viacom general counsel Michael Fricklas, himself a staunch antipiracy advocate.

Email Matthew Belloni at matthew.belloni@thr.com