Last Thursday, the White House announced the long-awaited nomination for the position of Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). The candidate is Danny Marti, a Washington-based IP lawyer, and pending confirmation by the Senate, Marti will step into the post which has been vacant for just over a year.
The IPEC position is sometimes colloquially called a “piracy czar,” and indeed the problem of unauthorized media downloads and streams will likely be on his list of priorities, and potentially of the greatest relevance to the music community. However his responsibilities will also extend to coordinating U.S. law-enforcement strategy around patents and trademarks, as well as copyright—both domestically and in partnership with international law enforcement.
Hailed as a new step towards a more open, responsive government, The White House’s petition site is in the news again as a key reason for the passage of a bill legalizing cell phone unlocking, signed into law this month. However, as a recent Time Magazine article points out, a handful of popular petitions are still awaiting a White House response despite having surpassed the 100,000 signatures mark, which was supposed to trigger an official reply. Among the petitions crossing this threshold were two that caught our attention: “Stop SOPA 2013” and “Stop SOPA 2014.”
Oddly, the Time article doesn’t mention that the White House already responded thoughtfuly and extensively to a petition about SOPA back in 2012. But much more disconcerting than the lack of official response to the new petitions is the fact that so many people have signed petitions expressing fierce opposition to legislation that they don’t seem to know doesn’t actually exist.
Here’s a little background: Victoria Espinel is the chief officer of IPEC and serves the White House on matters of IP enforcement. In this capacity, she is tasked with coordinating the many federal agencies that work to prevent copyright infringement and counterfeiting. This covers everything from books, movies, and music to software, designer clothes andpotentially harmful consumer items. Espinel’s post at the White House blog provides a good overview of her work and purpose of the Joint Strategic Plan.
Here at FMC, the part of intellectual property we pay the most attention to is copyright.
Since Barack Obama’s inauguration, many in the arts community have pondered what the change in leadership might mean for our field. It’s clear that the new president has some interest in musicâ€”he’s got Jay-Z on his iPod and even handpicked “long, strange trippers” The Dead to play at the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball in D.C. But looking past the meeting of tye-dyes and power ties, what does this mean for cultural policy?