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Obama to promote RIAA's favourite lawyer

'He's in danger of losing the Internet!'

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The prosecutor who spanked the World's Dumbest File Sharer, Jammie Thomas, is set to be the US' next Solicitor General.

The Solicitor General represents the US Government in Supreme Court cases, and there's a vacancy after the current incumbent Elena Kagan became the latest Court appointment.

Don Verrilli also led the successful prosecution of Grokster in a court case brought by MGM five years ago, and kicked off the ongoing GooTube litigation on behalf of Viacom. He's currently assistant Solicitor General.

Although Verrilli represents a counterweight to the Google lobby embedded in the Obama White House (which appears to be running its own parallel administration) the prospect of his promotion has caused convulsions amongst anti-copyright campaigners, who weirdly presumed that Obama was "one of us".

This is a very strange idea. Why would anyone think that Obama was a secret freetard? The idea is pretty ludicrous.

Obama at Google HQ. But not all White House staff are Oompa Loompas

But the anti-copyright crowd has always been eager to feel victimised, and the mood of despair is captured by Alex Pareene writing in Salon. Pareene offers an early candidate for overstatement of the year:

"Between this appointment and his anti-iPad rhetoric, Barack Obama is in danger of losing the Internet entirely," he concludes.

Who is this "Internet" of which he speaks? Presumably it does not include small indie labels, independent movie makers, or songwriters and composers, who after years of being squeezed by major industry players have now found themselves lumped in with the Axis of Evil by file sharers. Pareene's evocation reminds me of Harvey in the Jimmy Stewart movie of the same name ('my invisible friend is bigger than yours'), although in the movie the Pooka was real.

Recently an Irish High Court Judge called the freetards' bluff with a remarkably clear-headed judgement. He refused to criminalise copyright infringement, regarding it as a simple breach of a civil contract. But he also refuted the idea that the internet is a Temporary Autonomous Zone, a place beyond any kind of jurisdiction. The internet that Judge Charleton described - "thickly populated by fraudsters, pornographers of the worst kind and cranks" - is certainly how future historians will remember it, and is a lot closer to the reality we experience than Pareene's giant imaginary rabbit.

Maybe Obama isn't frightened of the rabbit because he doesn't care about the consequences of angering it. And maybe Obama doesn't care about this corner of opinion, because - as we've seen in the UK - it doesn't matter that much. ®

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