President Obama has appointed another Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lawyer to the U.S. Department of Jusice (DoJ) as he continues to pick his staff to help lead the country over the next four years.
Obama has selected Donald Verrilli to be the associate deputy attorney general, with Verrilli best known as being the lawyer who helped shut down Grokster. Also working for the RIAA, he sued Jammie Thomas and helped Viacom sue Google, which has earned him a high level of notoriety among many Internet users.
Verrilli now serves as a senior litigator for Jenner & Block law firm in Washington, D.C., and will give up that job to join the DoJ.
Verrilli’s appointment comes shortly after Obama selected former RIAA lawyer Tom Perrelli to be the associate attorney general, which drew the attention of many Obama supporters. In addition, Neil MacBride, who was also appointed as associate deputy attorney general, was responsible for leading the Business Software Alliance (BSA)’s nopiracy.com initiative — which actively called on employees to turn in businesses using pirated software.
Prior to his election, Obama had the support of many voters who opposed the RIAA, so his recent picks to the DoJ have left many people scratching their heads. Vice President Joe Biden, on the other hand, has been a staunch supporter for the music industry, even going as far as recommending file sharers on peer-to-peer networks face criminal prosecution.
None of the appointees will be able to handle copyright issues any longer — since they were involved with copyright issues prior to their government posts — but it’s still surprising Obama has selected three anti-piracy crusaders for the DoJ.