The Obama administration has just appointed a notorious entertainment industry lawyer to serve as the Solicitor General of the USA. Donald Verrilli Jr. is the industry lawyer who masterminded the case against Grokster, successfully arguing that online service providers should be held liable for the actions of their users and that online libraries containing millions of noninfringing works should be shut down if they also contain infringing works.
Subsequently, he led Viacom vs. YouTube suit, in which he sought to extend the Grokster principle, holding YouTube liable for not reviewing the 29 hours' worth of video they receive every minute to ensure they don't infringe copyright.
Viacom also sought to ban YouTube's privacy features (which allow you to specify that certain videos can only be seen by friends and family) because the ability to restrict viewership of a video made it harder for them to detect infringement.
If confirmed by the Senate, Verilli, now the White House deputy counsel, would assume the powerful position left vacant by Elena Kagan, who was elevated to the Supreme Court. Obama said he was "confident" that Verrilli, one of five former RIAA attorneys appointed to the administration, would "serve ably."
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 would bring to the Supreme Court for review.
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