Michael Fricklas is executive vice-president, general counsel, and secretary of Viacom Inc., a powerhouse in the digital content industry. Viacom, a global mass media company, owns Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Spike, Comedy Central, Channel 5 in the UK, and hundreds of other cable television networks. Because of the massive amount of media content it owns (mostly tv shows and movies), Viacom has been at the center of copyright issues involving YouTube/Google. Additionally, as a large corporation with many departments and outsourced legal work, cybersecurity and cyber attacks have become immensely important recently.
In this episode of In-House Legal, Randy Milch interviews Michael Fricklas about his path to becoming general counsel of Viacom, his specific interest in technology law, and what it’s like to be general counsel in a company owned by lawyers. Fricklas also discusses the copyright infringement lawsuit between Viacom and YouTube, how he managed the corporation’s public reputation during that time, and what he predicts for the future of cybersecurity in law firms and corporate legal departments. Tune in for an inside look at how the digital age has influenced the job of general counsel.
Michael Fricklas has served in senior management of Viacom’s legal department since 1993 and has been general counsel and secretary, Viacom’s most senior legal position, since 1998. He has been deeply involved in the legal issues surrounding the digitization of content and, most recently, has become involved in cyber-security issues.