We Didn’t Mean That Kind of Change: Internet Music and Movie Sharing...

We Didn’t Mean That Kind of Change: Internet Music and Movie Sharing Advisary Appointed Solicitor General

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Young voters who ran headlong to the polls to vote for Barack Obama’s hope and change surely didn’t see this coming and one has to wonder just how many have serious buyers remorse.

The Senate late Monday confirmed former Recording Industry Association of America lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr.to serve as the nation’s solicitor general.

Verilli, the White House deputy counsel, assumes the powerful position left vacant by Elena Kagan, who was elevated to the Supreme Court last year. The vote was 72-16 after lawmakers brokered a last-minute deal to avoid a threatened filibuster.

The solicitor general is charged with defending the government before the Supreme Court, and files friend-of-the court briefs in cases in which the government believes there is a significant legal issue. The office also determines which cases it will bring to the Supreme Court for review. Verrilli had told senators that he would resign if Obama asked him to take a position “based on partisan political considerations or other illegitimate reasons.”

Verrilli, one of at least five former RIAA attorneys appointed to the administration, is best known for leading the recording industry’s legal charge against music- and movie-sharing site Grokster. That 2003 case ultimately led to Grokster’s demise, when the U.S. Supreme Court sided with a lower court’s pro-RIAA verdict. Grokster produced a legal foundation which the RIAA used against file sharing service LimeWire, which shuttered last year and agreed to pay the labels $115 million to settle a lawsuit.

The elevation comes as lawmakers are moving to bolster copyright laws, and as federal authorities employ constitutionally suspect measures toward that end.

Until recently, Verrilli also was leading Viacom’s ongoing and flailing $1 billion copyright-infringement fight against YouTube.

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