by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 14th 2009 9:21pm
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 25th 2009 4:15pm
from the of-course dept
And yet... there was no appointment for so long. Why? Well, a few weeks ago, it was explained that there was a fight over where to put the position and under what group Espinel's office would exist. The most obvious group was the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The problem? Most of the folks in OSTP actually seem to understand the problems of copyright law. They're fans of openness and understand things like Creative Commons. Entertainment industry lobbyists started to freak out again, that even if they got someone on "their side," that placing them in OSTP would stifle them, as the rest of the group might (gasp!) actually push back on attempts to stretch copyright enforcement towards the maximalist position. Instead, they wanted the position to be either its own office (entirely unlikely) or, in the Office of Management & Budget. Why OMB? No good reason. The position doesn't fit there at all... but putting it there keeps it away from those darn "copyleftists" in OSTP.
So where did the position end up? Yup... it's a part of OMB, just like Hollywood wanted. Lobbyists on all sides of the equation -- including consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, though, are saying that Espinel is a good appointee. I certainly hope so, though I disagree that the position should exist at all. Also, Espinel was formerly the IP boss for the US Trade Representative -- a group that has been known to push for more draconian IP laws, and to do so cloaked in secrecy. So... I'm hoping to be surprised, but putting the office in OMB and having someone from USTR isn't encouraging.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 4th 2009 8:58am
from the since-when-does-industry-dictate-stuff? dept
Earlier this year, the Senators who pushed this through got antsy and pleaded with the White House to hurry up and appoint someone to the post. In response, the White House sent Joe Biden to an industry gathering, where he promised that the White House would pick "the right person" to represent the industry's interests. And yet... since then, there's been nothing.
It's been a poorly kept secret that Victoria Espinel is likely to be the IP Czar -- and, as former IP person at the USTR (who has always been strongly in support of stronger IP), it definitely seems like the industry will be happy with her. But why has it taken so long? Michael Scott points us to a report from last month that the "problem" is that the White House can't figure out where to place this role:
- A stand-alone office. While this is probably the most desirable in terms of making the position as prominent within the Administration as IP owners would like, it remains [an] uphill battle.
- Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP is known for espousing views that are less then favorable to the IP community. Placing the IP Czar within OSTP would make no more sense than coupling Oscar and Felix (or for a more modern reference, coupling Harry Potter with Voldemort).
- Office of Management and Budget (OMB). If a stand-alone office is not in the cards than this may be the best alternative. While OMB does not usually establish policy, it does coordinate with numerous agencies on various projects, which is certainly within the purview of the IP czar.
The fact that the White House hasn't simply placed the role in OSTP certainly feels like it agreeing not to do that because the industry lobbyists who pushed for the role in the first place won't like it. That doesn't seem like the way government should be run.