Summary: Microsoft’s involvement in US policy-making is worth attention
THE CURRENT US ADMINISTRATION appears to be carrying on with the policy of letting industry run the country, be it the RIAA/MPAA [1-12] or in this latest case — Microsoft. Obama-Microsoft proximity is an issue we’ve already covered in [1, 2, 3], but to be fair, Google too is in there [1, 2] (although it is not an abusive monopolist).
Watch out for other jaw-dropping appointments or advisories. When policy is driven primarily or exclusively by big corporations, it’s real trouble. █
 Joe Biden promises a blank check to the entertainment cartel
VP Joe Biden stood up in front of a bunch of Hollywood execs and promised to appoint a copyright czar, and furthermore, that this would be the “right” person to protect their interests. I would have voted Dem in the last election, if I got a vote, but make no mistakes: the Dems are the party of stupid copyright laws.
We’ve already seen how the Justice Department is, for example, being filled with lawyers who regularly worked with the RIAA, MPAA and BSA — three of the biggest copyright lobbying organizations, and those individuals have wasted no time in expressing their desire to continue pushing those industry’s viewpoints in their new positions.
The president has, in fact, filled out some high-level Justice Department positions with lawyers favored by the copyright industry, including attorneys who have represented the Recording Industry Association of America and the Business Software Alliance. The signatories of the April 2 letter said the Justice Department’s intervention last month in favor of a record label in a file-sharing case heightens their concern.
“It’s pure theft, stolen from the artists and quite frankly from the American people as consequence of loss of jobs and as a consequence of loss of income,” Biden said, according to a White House pool report.
The occasion: the second biennial summit sponsored by the industry’s chief lobbying arm, the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
 I got you, babe
Obama is whistling the music industry’s tune
President Barack Obama is tapping another RIAA attorney into the Justice Department.
Monday’s naming of Ian Gershengorn, to become the department’s deputy assistant attorney of the Civil Division, comes more than a week after nearly two-dozen public interest groups, trade pacts and library coalitions urged the new president to quit filling his administration with lawyers plucked from the Recording Industry Association of America.
The move makes it five RIAA lawyers Obama has appointed to the Justice Department.
The Obama administration has sided with the recording industry in a copyright lawsuit against an alleged peer-to-peer pirate, a move that echoes arguments previously made by the Bush administration.
When the Obama administration took over, there was a public stance that this administration was going to be more transparent — especially with regards to things like Freedom of Information Act requests. The nonprofit group Knowledge Ecology International took that to heart and filed an FOIA request to get more info on ACTA. The US Trade Representative’s Office responded denying the request, saying that the information was “classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958.” This is a treaty about changing copyright law, not sending missiles somewhere. To claim that it’s a national security matter is just downright scary. As KEI points out, the text of the documents requested have been available to tons of people, including more than 30 governments around the world and lobbyists from the entertainment industry, pharma industry and publishing industry.
Two Silicon Valley leaders have been appointed by President Obama to a 16-person committee that’s charged with offering economic advice during what has become an unusually sharp and deep recession.
John Doerr, the billionaire venture capitalist at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, is one. Doerr was involved in funding companies including Google, Amazon.com, Sun Microsystems, and Cypress Semiconductor; he currently serves on the board of companies including Amazon and Google and has recently turned his attention to green tech.
Charles Phillips, the president of Oracle, is another. Phillips became president in May 2003 and previously was with Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Securities Division. He’s a Linux aficionado and said in 2005: “On demand is the future of software for many years to come and we are building it on Linux.”