Monday, March 23, 2009

Solons urge Obama to appoint IP Czar; Susan Crawford tapped for separate White House tech policy slot

National Journal's Tech Daily Dose reports that top Senators have written a letter to President Obama, urging him to quickly appoint the first-ever White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator -- better known as the "IP Czar":
As President Barack Obama's first 100 days whiz by, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, ranking member Arlen Specter, and Sens. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, are pressuring the White House to make intellectual property protection a priority. The foursome who was the driving force behind last year's PRO IP Act, which former President George W. Bush signed in October, wrote to Obama last week urging him to nominate an IP enforcement coordinator. The position within the Executive Office of the President was created in their legislation and "can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the administration's efforts to protect American intellectual property," they wrote in a letter obtained by Tech Daily Dose.
According to the Dose -- as well as the Compliance Matters blog -- speculation on the identity of the IP Czarina continues to focus on USTR staffer Victoria Espinel and IFPI Executive Vice-President for Global Legal Policy Shira Perlmutter, formerly a top IP attorney at Time Warner.

In other appointments news, the Dose reports that Obama will tap law professor Susan Crawford for a White House tech policy job:
She will likely hold the title of special assistant to the president for science, technology, and innovation policy, they said. Crawford, who was most recently a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and at Yale Law School, was tapped by Obama's transition team in November to co-chair its FCC review process with University of Pennsylvania professor Kevin Werbach. Her official administration appointment has not been formally announced. Crawford may be best known for her work with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the California-based nonprofit group that manages the Internet address system. She served on ICANN's board for three years beginning in December 2005.
What will Crawford's priorities be? Here's what she had to say in a blog post from last Oct. 7:

Surely a high-priority item for any new President will be looking hard at public long-term infrastructure investment - not just open-access municipal fiber (although that’s central), but also basic research, graduate education in the sciences, anything that will help us address an increasingly hot, flat, and crowded world with new ideas.

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