Revolving Door: Obama Nominates Copyright Maximalist Lobbyist To Deputy USTR Position

from the this-is-a-problem dept

We recently highlighted the massive problem of the revolving door between the USTR's office and various patent and copyright maximalist organizations. One example of this was Victoria Espinel, a former USTR official (and then IP Enforcement Coordinator -- better known as the IP Czar), who went on to become the head of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the maximalist lobbying/trade group that is basically a voice for Microsoft, IBM and Adobe's copyright maximalist positions. Espinel's predecessor in the job was Robert Hollyeman, who lead the BSA for two decades, during which time it became well known for its preposterous studies equating every infringing copy to a lost sale.

Among one of Holleyman's most notoriously miscalculated moments was that he was one of the chief lobbyists pushing SOPA and PIPA, celebrating the bill and pushing it along in Congress... right up until (rumor has it) Microsoft freaked out and told him to knock it off.

And, because the USTR just can't position itself as maximalist enough, President Obama has now nominated Holleyman as deputy USTR, where it seems likely he'd be a key figure in making sure that the TPP and TTIP/TAFTA agreements continue to include all sorts of favors for copyright maximalists. For years, the USTR has made it clear that it views copyright and patent maximalism as not just the best policy for the US, but one it feels the need to force on every other country. This, despite overwhelming evidence of the harm excessive monopoly rights do to innovation, health and the economy. Unfortunately, the latest in the revolving door saga shows, yet again, that the USTR's focus on over-protecting legacy businesses -- at the expense of the public and innovation -- is a policy that is going to continue.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2014 @ 10:33am

    if the things he does, the positions he fills from almost anywhere that is to do with the entertainment industries doesn't tell people where Obama's loyalties lay, they must be blind or stupid or maybe both! how the hell he can put the holding back as wanted of an industry before anything and anyone else is shameful!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 28th, 2014 @ 10:34am

    Do I hear the sound of a collective lack of surprise?

    The earth shattering news would be if he put a sane person there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2014 @ 11:16am

    After Meredith Attwell Baker, left the F.C.C. two weeks after approving the Comcast/NBC Universal merger, and took a job at Comcast. I pretty much gave up on the corrupt playground known as 'politics'.

    Politicians don't even attempt to hide their corruption anymore, apparently because they don't have to. The DOJ isn't going to prosecute them, and Congress isn't going to draft any anti-corruption legislation.

    Only once people's lives become miserable enough from the corruption, will change actually occur. I guess America hasn't hit that threshold yet, but I suspect we're getting close to it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2014 @ 12:33pm


    Change Obama to Congress, and I agree with you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    zip, Feb 28th, 2014 @ 7:02pm

    Just watch when Holleyman quits his government job and goes back to work as a lobbyist for the copyright cartel --at a huge pay increase for a job well done!

    It's funny that Holleyman, like so many other revolving-door Washington careerists, owns a consulting company. We can be sure its stock just went up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2014 @ 8:11pm

    Why does this blog continue to depress me :(

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2014 @ 8:11pm


    The problem is that when govt established monopolists own the media they can easily divert blame.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    zip, Mar 1st, 2014 @ 12:22am


    If ignorance is bliss, then Techdirt readers are in for some torment. Blame Techdirt for pulling back the curtain and exposing all the things we're not supposed to see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    David, Mar 1st, 2014 @ 1:17am

    Stop robbing the graves!

    Artists were compensated for their work according to the agreement to have their work pass in the Public Domain in a foreseeable future. Their choice between immediately giving up copyright and getting compensation was made based on laws that would have guaranteed that their cultural heritage was made available after a limited time.

    Retroactive copyright extensions are a violation of the contracts made with artists. And since the same logic holds for yet living creators, it means that it bereaves the creators of the choice of making an honest living unless they want to have their work be locked up for eternity. An artist has no way to guess what consequences a contract with the RIAA or similar institutions will have. And there are few to no alternatives apart from not making any contract at all.

    The stock contracts are basically selling your artistic soul for eternity. You might as well undersign with your blood.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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