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White House 'copyright czar' steps down

Victoria Espinel, the White House's first-ever "intellectual property coordinator," recently resigned from her position after four years of service.

We thought this information might be of interest to Sacremento business and entertainment professionals, since Espinel was in charge of orchestrating anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting initiatives, which had spillover effects for the entire U.S.

Espinel's "copyright czar" job was created in 2008 by the signing of a law that was promoted by the entertainment industry. As we have written about before, film studios, television networks, record labels and book publishers have been seriously hurt by piracy over the past decade or so, so it was in their best interest to urge the creation of a federal official with responsibilities for enforcing copyright laws.

Espinel's tenure was marked by a newfound level of cooperation with the FBI on anti-counterfeiting measures and a public championing of tougher intellectual property laws. Some organizations were upset that she did not support the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, which was opposed by many Silicon Valley tech firms but endorsed by entertainment companies.

Espinel departed from her job quietly -- in fact, she left last Friday and news didn't leak out until Tuesday or so -- so it isn't known why she left or what she is planning on doing next. There is some speculation that her decision not to support SOPA contributed to her decision to depart.

In general, we applaud efforts to enforce our nation's intellectual property laws. We hope that Espinel's replacement is found promptly.

Source: Variety, "White House 'Copyright Czar' Steps Down," Ted Johnson, Aug. 12, 2013

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