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NAME AND TITLE: Leah Weil, executive vice president and general counsel AGE: 45 ENERTAINMENT EMPIRE: Los Angeles-based Sony Pictures Entertainment is the media division of Sony Corp. of America, the wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s Sony Corp. Sony Pictures’ Hollywood holdings include the Columbia Tristar Motion Picture Group, which releases about two dozen movies annually, and holds rights to a 3,500-film library; Sony Pictures Television, a producer and distributor of television programming; Sony Pictures Studios, a film and television production facility; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, a worldwide DVD and videocassette distributor; and Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Sony Pictures’ licensing arm. Sony Pictures, which reported $7.2 billion in 2004 revenue, has about 5,500 employees worldwide. IP PIRACY: Weil estimates that “roughly 80 percent of the [law] department is devoted to the creation and distribution of our product,” a task that includes protecting the company’s intellectual property while facilitating the public’s access to Sony’s movies and television programming. “We want to give consumers the opportunities to consume our product — how they want, what they want, when they want it and on the device of their choice — and, at the same time, make sure we’ve developed models and usage rules that protect our content.” Intellectual property piracy is “a huge issue for the industry, and needs to be approached in a multipronged fashion,” said Weil. This includes copy-protection technology, industrywide lobbying efforts, enforcement actions and public education. Most high school and college students recognize that it would be wrong to steal DVDs from their neighborhood store, said Weil, but many don’t feel the same way about illegally downloading movies from the Internet. Weil said that Sony Pictures’ lawyers are prepared to use the legal weapons necessary to protect the company’s products. “We are not anxious to engage in litigation, but we will protect our content from illegal redistribution. We have and will vigorously defend our rights,” she said. In November, for example, Sony Pictures sprang into action after a blogger ruined the surprise ending of Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings’ 74-game, $2.5 million winning streak. Jason Kottke posted an audio clip of Jennings’ wrong answer a day before the broadcast of the popular Sony-produced quiz show. Within hours, Sony Pictures lawyers contacted Kottke, threatening to sue him for copyright infringement if he didn’t immediately remove the post. “We owed a duty to [the] people who paid money for this program to protect our product,” said Weil. LITIGATION: Weil said that Sony Pictures has “a manageable amount” of litigation, mostly related to intellectual property protection, distribution matters and employment. Last June, the company settled a California lawsuit filed by Marvel Entertainment Inc., owner of the copyrighted comic book hero Spiderman, over the merchandising of licensed products tied in to Sony Pictures’ Spiderman movie. The two companies have patched up their business relationship, said Weil, and are both looking forward to the 2007 release of Spiderman 3. HOLLYWOOD STUFF: One of the perks of her job as a top Hollywood lawyer is the occasional ticket to the Oscars, Emmys and star-studded movie premieres. While she enjoys watching Sony Pictures’ movies and television shows, she said that her legal work on these productions sometimes prevents her from enjoying them. “I’m reminded of the legal issues and troubles we had in getting the product on the screen, but � it’s very cool knowing that my group [helped] deliver something that brings so much enjoyment to people,” she said. LEGAL TEAM AND OUTSIDE COUNSEL: Weil oversees a 200-employee law office, including 70 lawyers and 55 paralegals. Sony Pictures’ in-house office handles most of the company’s legal and labor relations matters, and hires outside counsel for litigation and other matters requiring unique expertise. Most corporate matters, including major transactions, are handled largely in-house. Last year, Weil was deeply involved in Sony Corp. of America’s $4.8 billion acquisition of rival studio Metro-Goldman-Mayer. A Sony-led consortium, including Comcast Corp. and several equity investors, outbid Time Warner for the rival studio. Weil was “very hands-on” in putting together the complex deal, she said, “possibly to the chagrin of some of the [outside] lawyers involved.” Weil frequently calls on two L.A.-based firms: Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, for corporate matters and litigation, and Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, for employment and labor work. Weil reports to Sony Pictures’ chief administrative officer, Beth Burke. ROUTE TO THE TOP: Weil was born, raised and still lives in Los Angeles. She graduated in 1982 from the University of California at Los Angeles, and received her law degree in 1985 from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She then signed on as a corporate law associate at Los Angeles’ Hill Wynne Troop & Meisinger, representing entertainment industry clients. Weil left the firm in 1991 when she was pregnant with her first child. After prompting from some of her former clients, she opened a solo practice, concentrating on corporate and commercial work, before joining Sony Pictures in 1996 as senior counsel. She was soon promoted to senior vice president, legal affairs, deputy general counsel, heading up Sony Pictures’ corporate legal group. She was named GC in April 2001. PERSONAL: Weil and her lawyer husband, solo practitioner Fred Schulcz, have two children: Stephen, 14, “a huge baseball fan,” and Elizabeth, 11, “a huge musical theater singing diva.” Her nonwork interests “tend to be whatever my kids are into,” she said. LAST BOOK AND MOVIE: “The Bourne Legacy” by Eric Van Lustbader, and “Guess Who.”

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