RIAA bigwig who architected anti-technology lawsuits is now #2 at the Copyright Office

Karyn Temple Claggett is the new Associate Register of Copyright and Director of Policy & International Affairs for the Copyright Office. Her previous gig was litigating for the RIAA, shutting down technologies like Grokster, which had widespread, non-infringing uses (the standard in the law since the Betamax Supreme Court decision in 1982).

Last night the news came out that the US Copyright Office had now named Karyn Temple Claggett as the Associate Register of Copyright and Director of Policy & International Affairs. While Temple Claggett has actually been at the Copyright Office for a little while as Senior Counsel for Policy and International Affairs, not too long ago she was a hotshot litigator for... the RIAA. In fact, an old bio of hers, from when she was at the RIAA (as VP, Litigation and Legal Affairs), notes that she was instrumental in their ever-present legal campaign against pretty much any innovative technology that comes along:

While at the RIAA, Ms. Temple-Claggett has worked on some of the most high-profile copyright cases brought by copyright owners in recent years, including the Supreme Court Grokster litigation, as well as litigation against LimeWire, XM Satellite Radio and Usenet.com

Former RIAA VP Named 2nd In Command Of Copyright Office[Mike Masnick/Techdirt]


  1. At what point do we just say to hell with the system and ignore the obvious armbar consumers are being given?

  2. This reminds me of the CRTC hirings that happen in Canada. A lot of CRTC people are ex-Bell and Rogers (not to mention other big telecom and cable companies).  Whenever this gets pointed out and criticised, the response is always that they have “industry expertise” — as if that makes the fact that they’re making decisions for their old co-workers any more palatable.

    1. Maybe if we start pointing out she has experience in an industry that screams the sky is falling as they earn record profits.  People who are given to wild flights of fantasy have no place directing policy.

    2. This is what is known as “regulatory capture” and it happens in every industry that is regulated by the government. Regulating a complex industry, like telecommunications, or area of law, like copyright, requires people who are intimately familiar with the field they’re regulating, both so that they know what they’re doing, and so that they can hold their own when dealing with the regulated entities. The main source of people who have that level of knowledge is people who work in the industry, which means the government ends up relying on people from the industry to regulate it. Add to that the fact that tightly regulated industries tend to become consolidated into the hands of a few huge companies (like telecommunications in Canada) because the cost of regulatory compliance forces out the small players and delivers the industry into the hands of people who are expert in manipulating the regulatory apparatus. The industry becomes controlled by a tiny handful of companies that got there by being expert at working the regulations; the regulatory agencies end up being populated by people who used to work for, and expect to work for again, those same companies, and so the regulatory agency ends up being captured by the companies that it regulates. 

  3. “BoingBoing BigWig who engineered headline using ‘Architected’ told by angry, broke architect mob to go back to abusing the word ‘Engineer’ ” :)

    1. Verb

      architect (third-person singular simple present architects, present participle architecting, simple past and past participle architected)

      (transitive) To design, plan, or orchestrate.
      He architected the military coup against the government

  4. “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” — Mussolini

  5. We’ve all known the fix was in a long time ago. What is surprising is that they aren’t even trying to hide it any more. We have a word for that where I work. It’s rather crude but I will use it here. “Fuckery” It’s pretty self explanatory.

    1. They haven’t been trying to hide it for a long time…this is how the Iraq War happened, this is how 9/11 happened, this is how the seamless passing of the crown from Bush to Obama happened..everybody who is paying a lick of attention can see that the fix is in, but what the fuck can anyone do? 

      So, TPTB can afford to be completely blatant about their actions, because the population is already pretty well divided into people who know shit is completely fucked up and upside down and those who buy into it / don’t care. Obama, the Pope, and the Queen of England could all be filmed planting a nuclear bomb in times square, and nothing much would come of it.

      Not that there isn’t much we can do that isn’t effective; rather, in this era of ultra-stress and information overload, even the most blatant shit won’t change the demographics of who’s a radical and who isn’t.

  6. The weird thing is that it’s almost certainly the case that she believes she’s a good person and is, together with her peers and bosses, fighting the good fight.

    1. Not nessecarily.  She can be more aware that her future income came from making sure the problem persisted, and doing everything to keep the ‘battle’ going to ensure she kept getting paid.

      Given the total failure of the RIAA to solve the imaginary problems they decry, it becomes clear their membership wants to believe that everytime a download happens they loose $1000. 
      They are oblivous to the idea that some former customers went elsewhere, they are no longer the only game in town.  That every time they shit on the consumer they harm themselves more than 1000 downloads.

      See also – War on Drugs, War on Terrorism, TSA, Charities

      Commit to a policy no matter how deranged, and stick with it no matter what.  If its failing, try harder rather than wonder if your ideas are really freaking stupid.  Pay “experts” to tell you how horrible it is out there, and let them sell you snake oil to solve the problem… it’ll work this time.  I wouldn’t be suprised to listen to the RIAA workers laughing that what they are doing is stupid, but they need to get paid.

      1. Well, you may be right. But most folk don’t believe they’re bad eggs. High salaries are easily rationalised.

        Besides, it’s a more interesting story if the protagonist believes they’re doing the right thing. There’s no tragedy in acting all twirly-moustache and cackles, just a kid’s cartoon.

        1. Oh there is tragedy… like when Beryl Howell, former RIAA lobbyist, was appointed as a Federal Judge and decided that the law as written wasn’t enough and 3rd parties had duties to protect copyright holders.
          The tragedy is how Justice is being perverted.
          DaJaz1, Rojodirect, MegaUpload…
          DOJ is filled with former cartel lawyers…

  7. I understand the outrage about this, and it certainly sounds dire. But I’m curious when it comes to lawyers how frequently they were just “doing their job” with the bad guys. A defense lawyer hired to defend an alleged killer has to try and DEFEND them. It doesn’t necessarily mean they actually believe in their client’s innocence, but they have to try and convince others of it. 

    Now, they have to sleep at night knowing that they could be defending a murderer, but that doesn’t mean they support the murderer.

    Same might be said about a situation like this. You’re hired by the RIAA to do what the RIAA wants. They want you to construct draconian laws, sue customers, and generally be a dick… well, maybe you turn off your morals and do your job.  When you get out, if you can turn those morals back on, and now know how the bad guys operate, maybe you can use your powers for good?

    A paycheck can sway lots of people to go against their own feelings on a matter. The question is if this point of view sticks once they person paying you has changed.

    If she’s still influenced by the RIAA, then this is awful. If she truly believes what they were preaching, then this worse. If, however, she’s now out from under their rule, and does want to fight the good fight, or at least be a neutral party in it, than it’s not a bad thing.

    But I’m inclined to believe the worst… seeing as political stories seldom come out as wins for the little guy these days.

  8. “shutting down technologies like Grokster, which had widespread, non-infringing uses (the standard in the law since the Betamax Supreme Court decision in 1982).”

    Grokster was liable DESPITE having widespread, non-infringing uses. That was the main take-away from the scotus Grokster opinion – that intentional inducement of infringement OVERRIDES the Sony/Betamax rule. It’s disingenuous to imply that it was somehow frivolous or bellicose to go after Grokster just because it wasn’t a slam dunk under the Sony/Betamax rule. There were unresolved questions – like inducement – and the Grokster opinion resolved them.

    To my knowledge, Claggett wasn’t counsel of record at any point in the Grokster litigation. As ‘VP of Litigation,’ I think her affiliation with the case is probably mostly bluster.

    But I think you’re misreading that bluster. Her resume isn’t saying: I think the copyright office is more likely to hire/promote someone who badgers P2P.

    It’s saying: I was – tangentially – involved in important copyright cases that changed the operation of U.S. copyright law.   

    Counsel for Grokster probably ALSO feature that case prominently on their resumes. But I seriously doubt they do it to NARROW their appeal.

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