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Dean Garfield didn’t start his career thinking that someday he’d battle pirates. But that’s exactly what the 35-year-old is doing as the new vice president and director of worldwide antipiracy legal affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America. A graduate of the New York University School of Law, Garfield first practiced at New York’s Kaye Scholer, working in the firm’s litigation department for six years. But then a conversation with Jeff Harleston, a friend who worked as a lawyer at Universal Music Group, led Garfield to rethink his career plan. The year was 2000, recalls Garfield, and everyone was talking about Napster. “It was the topic of conversation for people sitting on the IP bar and people sitting at the [local] bar,” he explains. Harleston advised Garfield that enterprising lawyers had the chance to help adapt IP law to the lawless digital frontier. Garfield took his friend’s advice and signed on with the legal staff of the Recording Industry Association of America. There he worked on over 15 copyright and intellectual property cases, including suits against file-swapping software and service providers Kazaa, Audiogalaxy, and iMesh.com, Inc. Garfield also worked closely with Mark Litvack, then the director of worldwide antipiracy legal affairs at the MPAA. This spring, when Litvack decided to join the Los Angeles — based Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, he asked Garfield if he would be interested in the MPAA post. Litvack had scoured hundreds of incoming resumes but had not been satisfied with the potential candidates, so he encouraged Garfield to apply. He had long been impressed with Garfield’s ability to prioritize issues and stay cool under pressure, important skills given the MPAA’s “ever-growing battle” against Internet piracy, he says. “Dean stood out head and shoulders above the rest,” Litvack recounts. Garfield was not looking to leave his position as a vice president of legal affairs at the RIAA, but Litvack pitched the job hard, stressing that the motion picture association has a global scope, unlike the RIAA, which focuses primarily on the United States. “The MPAA allows Dean to develop the legal strategy of antipiracy on a worldwide stage — in 70 countries versus one country,” says Litvack. Garfield now directs a staff of ten to 12 attorneys and legal specialists, based in Los Angeles and overseas. He reports to John Malcolm, senior vice president and director of worldwide antipiracy. Garfield also handles — and relishes — the criminal angle of copyright infringement. The MPAA has mounted a worldwide campaign to encourage enforcement of piracy laws, Garfield explains. “Many view [piracy] as a victimless crime, but it’s not,” he says. “We have an opportunity to make it clear that it’s an issue of imminent importance.”

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