Mitchell Edwards has a tough new job. He recently joined San Francisco-based BitTorrent Inc., a technology company that delivers high-quality media over the Web, as general counsel and chief financial officer. BitTorrent lies at the forefront of traditional media's 21st century transition to digital. But for better and worse, BitTorrent shares its name with a well-known open-source software often used for illegal file-sharing.
"The biggest challenge is maintaining relationships with Hollywood, with studios and with the Motion Picture Association of America and staying on their good side," Edwards says. "[I have to help] them understand that we can help them deliver a better product and monetize their content on the Internet, even where we are accused of doing the opposite."
Beginning his career at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and serving in-house at several technology companies, Edwards has extensive experience in the tech sector. But he enjoys working at BitTorrent, a small but culturally significant operation.
"At a cutting-edge company like this, it's as exciting a legal position as there is," he says. "There's really nothing more exciting than being general counsel [at a company] that is at the forefront of its industry and also this change in our society. A lot of the things we do are moving from classrooms, TV screens and movie theaters to the Internet."
Using financial expertise along with his legal background, Edwards deals with complex, corporate and public policy-related technology issues. He looks forward to shaping BitTorrent's policies to move from a small company toward becoming larger and potentially publicly traded.