Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Verrilli to DOJ - Three Strikes?

President Obama has just appointed another big time content industry lawyer to DOJ.

Donald Verrilli, of Jenner and Block, who fought and won the Grokster case for the music industry in the US Supreme Court along with many other important caess, has been named as associate deputy attorney general. This follows the recent appointment of Tom Perrelli of the same firm as associate attorney general.

This also follows the appointment of Neil MacBride of the BSA, who was the person responsible for the BSA's highly successful but ethically troubling "snitch" reporting program that encourages disgruntled employees to find and report illegally installed software with a view towards retribution and reward.

This makes three appointments to senior DOJ positions of very competent and potentially very hawkish enforcers who have served the music, motion picture and software industries very well indeed.

Does this portend a greater policy and/or enforcement role for DOJ in IP?

Will we see the appointment of someone with a record of serving the user side or the public interest side in IP?

Or do these three strikes now establish a pattern to be continued?

HT to Michael Geist, who is now BTW, the number one ranked political blogger in Canada.

Update February 5: Declan McCullagh has a more thorough analysis of Verrilli's involvement with policy sensitive files such as the Jammie Thomas, Viacom and Cablevision cases that are all very much "live" and in which DOJ has played or could play a key role. Declan also says:

During the campaign, when CNET News asked Obama for his views on copyright, he replied: "As policymakers, we are in a constant process of examining our laws to ensure that the protections we place on intellectual property are sufficient to encourage invention without hindering innovation that builds on previous work or unfairly limiting consumers from using the goods they purchase in a way that is fair to creators."

That was, unfortunately, rather vague. Now it's a bit more clear where he stands.


1 comment:

  1. It is FOUR strikes, the first being Joe Biden!

    Thanks for the list, let's keep Obama's "progress" in public eyes.