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The online edition of the magazine published by The Johns Hopkins University, Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences


Laying Down the Law at MTV

HIGHLIGHTS: A stage-side seat for a U2 concert under the Brooklyn Bridge; watching episodes of "Jackass" and "Punk'd" with a lawyer's eye; and trying to fend off celebrity lawyer Johnnie Cochran, who was representing Spike Lee in a suit over MTV's right to name a show "Spike TV."

As one of about half a dozen in his group of lawyers at MTV Networks (the company owns Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central, and other stations and employs about 100 lawyers), Joey Molko describes his job as a mix of litigation, copyright and trademark law, and "making sure shows don't get into legal trouble."

A 1994 graduate of the Krieger School's Writing Seminars, Molko says he always wanted to be a writer, but like many liberal arts majors, opted for law school after graduation. "I didn't put a ton of thought into it," he says. "I felt like I needed to be gainfully employed."

After receiving his law degree from Fordham University School of Law in New York City, Molko worked for a federal judge in Manhattan and then joined the litigation department of the large New York firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. At his next job, with a smaller firm specializing in intellectual property, Molko worked on the company's account with MTV. Then, he says, "[MTV] asked if I wanted to come in-house."

For Molko, 32, working at MTV was something of a dream come true. "When I was at Hopkins," he recalls, "It was a big time in music." In the early 1990s, Molko says, the network known mainly for airing music videos "went from something that had an effect on our culture to being an integral part of the culture."

Today, he says, he's proud of the network's involvement in social causes, its Global AIDS program, its news programs that reach younger audiences, and its participation in such initiatives as Rock the Vote, which works to increase voter registration and turnout among young adults.

"I'm surrounded by young people and see how savvy and smart they are," Molko says. "I value diversity and open-mindedness, and the young people I see every day deserve credit for those attributes."

-Martha Thomas



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