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Napster steals the brains of Senate Committee chief counsel

Orrin Hatch advisor piped aboard

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Napster has stolen the brains of a chief counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee to help with its policy strategy.

Manus Cooney is to ditch his job as key policy and political advisor to committee chairman Senator Orrin Hatch, of Utah, to join the online file-swapping service next month.

Cooney will get to represent Napster before Congress in his new role of Napster VP for corporate and policy development. He will be responsible for setting strategy on legislative policy issues affecting the California company, its 44 million users, and its artists, and for doling out advice on licensing and deals with other companies both in and outside the US, Reuters reports.

The coup follows German group Bertelsmann's shock decision in October to break ranks with rival music giants and drop its lawsuit against Napster. The two are currently deciding how the company can come up with a paid-for service. The remaining music companies are still ploughing ahead with the legal battle.

"Manus Cooney joining our team ensures that Napster's more than 44 million users will be well represented in the coming critical policy debates over how to best grow and share the benefits of new technologies," said Napster CEO Hank Barry.

Cooney is no stranger to Napster - he was involved in Committee hearings such as "The Noise Over Napster" through his work with Sen. Hatch, and has worked on a batch of intellectual property law-related issues. ®

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