Friday, September 25, 2009

IP 'Czar' nominee Espinel bows to boffo reviews

It's only been a few hours since President Obama named former USTR and Senate staffer Victoria Espinel as the first-ever US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, aka "IP Czar," and the reviews are already coming in. The verdict? They like her! They really like her!

Dan Glickman, Chairman & CEO, MPAA:
We applaud President Obama’s decision today to nominate Victoria Espinel as the administration’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. Given her extensive experience working on intellectual property issues as the former Assistant United States Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation along with her work as the chief U.S. trade negotiator on IP issues before the World Trade Organization, Espinel brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the position. We look forward to working with her in this new and increasingly important role.

Intellectual property industries are an essential economic engine to the U.S. economy. The motion picture industry alone employed over 2.5 million workers in 2007 and paid more than $41.1 billion in wages to employees working behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera. We commend the administration for appointing such a capable and experienced advocate for the artists and creators who make their living by creating the content that is not only loved by millions of consumers around the world, but that is a significant contributor to the American economy.
Mitch Bainwol, Chairman & CEO, Recording Industry Association of America:
We warmly welcome the decision of President Obama to nominate Victoria Espinel as the new Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. Victoria is a polished and respected veteran on intellectual property and global trade-related issues. Throughout her distinguished career, she has worked to establish herself as one of the top minds in the global intellectual property forum. She brings an impressive track record to this newly-created but vital position. This valuable expertise will help protect the American jobs, ingenuity and creative innovation that helps drive so much of our economy. We encourage Congress to move quickly to approve her nomination.

Victoria has a full plate in front of her. In this challenging economic environment, the importance of developing and implementing common-sense solutions to protect our nation’s intellectual property industry and promote innovation cannot be underscored enough. A vigorous defense of intellectual property strengthens our ability to compete as a world leader in global commerce. As numerous studies have attested, intellectual property is a unique growth driver for this country, employing more than 5.6 million U.S. workers and contributing more than $889 billion to the U.S. GDP. We are confident that Victoria is up to the task.
Joint statement of SAG, WGAW, DGA, AFTRA, and IATSE:

We welcome the announcement today by President Obama of the nomination of Victoria Espinel to the position of this Administration's Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. There is no issue more important to our unions than the protection of the films and television programs that our members create. Too often in public debate these works are given the abstract labels of "content" or "information." In reality however, they are much more than that-they are one of our country's greatest economic and cultural contributions loved by both the American public and by billions around the world. And, most importantly, they are not abstractions, they represent real jobs and real income to millions of people in this country. We look forward to working with our Administration, Congress and the new IP Enforcement Coordinator to ensure that our films and television programs are respected and protected both here and abroad so that our children and grandchildren may enjoy them as we do today.

Gigi Sohn, President, Public Knowledge:

We congratulate Victoria Espinel on her nomination to be the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. She is well qualified for the position, having served as the assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation. We look forward to working with her upon confirmation by the Senate. We believe she will be fair in her approach to intellectual property enforcement issues.

NBC Universal, Inc.

We applaud the Administration for its action today in filling this 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. We look forward to working with the administration, and the nominee once confirmed, to protect and grow well-paid IP jobs that will help the US economy recover from the recession and thrive in the 21st century.

Mark T. Esper, executive vice president, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center

Last year, Congress passed the bipartisan PRO-IP Act to protect the ownership rights of inventors and creators while ensuring the products consumers use are authentic, safe and effective. President Obama’s choice of Victoria Espinel as the nation’s first IP enforcement coordinator is significant, and marks an important step towards fulfilling the promise of the PRO-IP Act.

Throughout a long and distinguished career working on intellectual property issues, Victoria has been on the front lines of efforts to protect the ideas that are the basis of our innovation economy. Under Victoria’s leadership, intellectual property protection, promotion, and enforcement will now be rightly elevated to the highest level of the executive branch, an important sign about the administration’s commitment to protecting jobs throughout America’s IP-intensive industries.

Growing the economy, improving America’s competitiveness, and protecting ideas go hand-in-hand because our economy is built on IP-driven innovation. In these uncertain economic times, it is more critical than ever that our government aggressively protect the rights of innovators and artists who are turning ideas into full-fledged inventions that create jobs and meet the public’s needs.

In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to learning more about IPEC’s plan to tackle the IP challenges that face the nation. 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. Today’s nomination is a positive development towards fully implementing and funding the PRO-IP Act, and we hope President Obama and Congress will continue this important work by ensuring Victoria has the resources and authority necessary to get the job done.

Patrick Ross, Executive Director, Copyright Alliance:

The Copyright Alliance congratulates President Obama on his selection of Victoria Espinel to serve as the first U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. Her leadership roles at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative not only put her front and center in intellectual property promotion and enforcement, they also allowed her to demonstrate her ability to work with multiple agencies and stakeholders in a productive, effective manner.

Today’s appointment is the welcome culmination of many months of work toward a more streamlined approach to intellectual property enforcement by the federal government. This appointment and its locale within the Office of Management and Budget is a strong sign by the Administration that it believes in the importance of creators’ rights and seeing those rights are enforced here and abroad.

Now the real challenges begin. The copyright community will watch with great interest and stand ready to contribute where needed as this new office is established and begins operations.

We urge the Administration to give her every resource, and encourage all officials with a stake in intellectual property enforcement to work with her on a task that is critical to our nation’s economic growth and job creation.

So far, I have not located any public statements critical of Espinel's appointment, though copyleft groups such as EFF and Center for Democracy and Technology have yet to weigh in. I will update this post as warranted.


  1. Thanks, Ben

    Let's hope Victoria is up for this challenge. From my own personal experience, I have witnessed U.S.-based copyright developers losing this war to off-shore digital pirates and counterfeiters in recent years.

    That wiil not change until the courts here in the U.S. begin to consistently enforce the civil and criminal remedies that we currently have on the books for flagrant and willful pirates. Far too often in this country, the punishment is just a small fraction of the potential profits there are to be made from these unlawful operations.

    Until we fix this counter-incentive, the pirates will win. Victoria will hopefully have the exposure and resources available to turn these digital piracy curves downward for the first time in this decade.

    We certainly wish her all the best and will make ourselves available to help in any way that we can.

    George Riddick
    Imageline, Inc.

    Executive Director
    Copyrights: Code (Red)

  2. We have lost this current generation to self-entitlement. The real work has to be in re-teaching children at a young age the respect necessary for the work of others.


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