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Victoria Espinel nominated by Obama to be new Intellectual Property Czar

VICTORIA ESPINEL

VICTORIA ESPINEL

In case you missed it,  from the Wall Street Journal:

President Barack Obama on Friday [September 25] named Victoria Espinel to be the new U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, an administration position created last year by Congress.The intellectual property coordinator, part of the Office of Management and Budget, is mandated as part of a law aimed at beefing up U.S. enforcement efforts to stop the sale of pirated or counterfeited movies, music, drugs and software.

Espinel is the founder and president of Bridging the Innovation Divide, a not-for-profit foundation. She also was a staffer on Capitol Hill working on intellectual property issues.

In 2005, Espinel was appointed to be the first Assistant United States Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, serving as the chief U.S. trade negotiator for intellectual property and innovation.

Espinel’s appointment was welcomed by groups keeping on eye on intellectual property protections. “We are anxious to work with Victoria on the development of the first comprehensive national strategy, as mandated by Congress, to address the full range of IP issues now facing American industry, workers, and consumers,” said Mark Esper, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center.

Gigi Sohn, president of the advocacy group Public Knowledge, said Espinel is well qualified for the position and “will be fair in her approach to intellectual property enforcement issues.”

Variety notes that this was:

an appointment that won praise from industry lobbyists and unions as they push to make copyright protection a higher national priority.

Variety elaborates:

Espinel’s nomination, which had been rumored for months, has come with some wariness among some in the technology community, who have even characterized the move as a way for Hollywood to protect a dying business model.

But under the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act, passed with overwhelming support last year, Obama is required to appoint someone to coordinate the administration’s efforts in intellectual property protection, with the idea that such a point person in the executive branch could give counterfeit and piracy issues greater urgency. At a symposium sponsored by the Motion Picture Assn. of America in April, Vice President Joseph Biden pledged to find the “right person” for the post.

Even though the administration was pressed to act quickly in selecting a nominee, speculation is that the appointment was delayed as the White House figured out just where she would be placed. The Office of Management and Budget coordinates across agencies, which is something that she will be doing in her post.

The announcement drew praise from Hollywood’s lobby and labor unions.

MPAA chairman-CEO Dan Glickman praised Espinel’s qualifications, pointing to her advocacy on behalf of “artists and creators,” and said in a statement that “we look forward to working with her in this new and increasingly important role.”

NBC Universal applauded the appointment, calling the intellectual property czar a “critically important position.” “This new White House executive, once confirmed by the Senate, should be well positioned to ensure that American innovation and creativity generate American jobs,” NBC U said in a statement.

I know Victoria. She received her BSFS from the Walsh School of Foreign Service in 1989 and her JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 1992. (And she is the daughter of my friends and Georgetown colleagues, Dr. Jeanne Lord and Dr. Carlos Espinel.) Without doubt, she is an outstanding choice! I hope the Senate moves quickly to confirm her nomination.

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.