Obama Appoints Former RIAA Lawyer as Solicitor General

Given how loaded Obama’s DoJ is with former industry attorneys, this nomination, announced on Monday, is hardly surprising. Donald Verrilli Jr. participated in several efforts to fight infringement, including both the lawsuits the trade association pressed against individuals and most recently the Viacom suit against YouTube.

Verrilli’s background in work for big content doesn’t necessarily mean his view of copyright policy will lean towards favoring maximalists. That ship has already sailed, seeing IP enforcement a clear priority in a variety of policy making efforts with this administration.

It is unclear to me how the role of Solicitor General will impact IP policy one way or the other, at least based on David Kravetz explanation in this short Wired piece.

The solicitor general is charged with defending the government before the Supreme Court, and files friend-of-the court briefs in cases in which the government believes there is a significant legal issue. The office also determines which cases it will bring to the Supreme Court for review.

The most chilling fact about Verilli from the article is that he was responsible for some of the most controversial legal theory advanced during the suits against individual file sharers.

And in 2008, Verrilli told a federal judge in Minnesota that merely making copyright works available on file sharing networks amounted to copyright infringement — and that no proof of somebody else downloading those files was required.

Verrilli still has to be confirmed by the Senate and Kravetz doesn’t mention any timeline for a hearing.

Obama Nominates RIAA Lawyer for Solicitor General, Wired

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