I am, first and foremost, a movie buff. And one on the traditional side, I would say, since I still really enjoy the experience of going to the movies and watching a film with a crowd munching a big bucket of popcorn everywhere. As to home video, this concept, to me, is still buying or renting the actual physical discs, not downloading or streaming the content. I am a techie and an earlier adopter of new technologies (I was probably one of the handful people in Brazil to have, in the year of release, a laserdisc player, which, by the way, I still have) but I still cannot go around to simply not having or touching the physical product or, like the copyright law jargon demands, “the object in which a work is fixed”.
I certainly understand and appreciate the movement towards a digital environment the content industries is following but I think I will still be a niche consumer, with my quirks and peculiarities as far as movies go. It is not that much different to me in relation to music as a shiny CD still grabs more my attention than an album released on a website.
In view of my lifelong taste for movies (good or bad, that is not in play here, thankfully!) and a family environment where I grew surrounded by lawyers, I was able to veer my career towards intellectual property law, finally specializing in Trademark, Copyright and Entertainment and Media Law.
Of course, starting my professional life as a trainee in 1993 at my current law firm – Dannemann Siemsen Advogados – allowed me to have plenty of opportunities to really delve into the these subjects. Since 1999 I have been a partner of the firm and, with time and with the development of a very respectable entertainment clientele, I ended up heading the Entertainment and Media Law Practice Group of my firm, together with my partner Rodrigo Borges Carneiro. Rodrigo, by the way, is also responsible for this blog. Of course, I still work quite feverishly on trademark, copyright and unfair competition matters.
As a continuation of my Law Degree at PUC (1990-1994), a very respectful law school in Rio de Janeiro (you do not have to take my word for that, just go and research about it on a search engine), I went to Los Angeles for a year to get an LL.M in Entertainment and Media Law. It was a tough time as, for logistical reasons, I had to leave my wife and very young daughter in Rio during that time. However, my studies at Southwestern University School of Law were incredible and the contacts and friendship I made during that time (2003-2004) continue to this date.
Also during my stay in L.A. I had the good luck to be invited to be a professional interns at Warner Bros. Not only did this experience give me a rare insight as an in-house lawyer but it also allowed me to work in a very interesing environment (the WB lot in Burbank) with amazing people.
Currently, I am also professor in three post-graduation courses in Brazil related to IP and Entertainment Law: the post-graduations of IP and of Entertainment and Media Law at ESA-SP (Superior School of Lawyers of São Paulo) and the post-graduation of Entertainment Law at UERJ (State University of Rio de Janeiro).
All in all, and leaving modesty a moment at the door, I believe I have a strong background that gives me some credibility to talk about Entertainment Law in Brazil specifically, Latin America in general, and maybe even the world given my international clients. I do not purport to be the foremost expert in this area in Brazil – several of my colleagues have at least as much knowledge as I have – but someone has to start the talk and why not me?