Sunrise (3/30/11)



TorrentFreak: “Last week, the freshly appointed U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell gave copyright holders carte blanche to continue their profitable settlement schemes. This verdict weakens the position of thousands of alleged BitTorrent users, some of whom may be completely innocent. Despite opposition from ISPs and consumer rights groups who described the tactics as “extortion,” Howell decided in favor of the copyright holders. … Howell’s resume immediately reveals that she is no stranger to copyright law. As General Counsel of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary she helped with the drafting of several prominent intellectual property protection laws, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Deterrence Act and the No Electronic Theft Act. … The above clearly indicates that Howell is familiar with protecting the interests of copyright holders, but there is more. Until 2009 she also held the position of Executive Managing Director and General Counsel at Stroz Friedberg, a consulting firm that specializes in the management of digital crimes. … In recent years Stroz Friedberg has lobbied extensively in Washington on behalf of the RIAA. This consulting job earned the company more than half a million dollars. And yes, one of the leading lobbyists on record was Beryl Howell, who was paid $415,000 between 2004 and 2008.”


Politico: “The House Natural Resources Committee chairman and his staff wanted to keep the details of his three offshore drilling measures off-limits, even to other Republicans on the committee, so they decided to keep emails to a minimum. … Hastings’s staff discussed the bills largely through face-to-face conversations to prevent emails from being leaked, a spokesman said. … The Washington Republican let his own secret out Tuesday, spending much of the day spreading the news to the press, fellow Republicans and legislative aides. (No such luck for committee Democrats, who have yet to be briefed, said a spokesman for ranking Democrat Ed Markey of Massachusetts.) … Hastings also held a closed-door, invitation-only meeting with top energy lobbyists, including representatives from Chevron, Patton Boggs and about a dozen others. … Invitees were told the briefing was “by invitation only” and asked not to forward the email elsewhere, according to an email forwarded to POLITICO.”


Boston Globe: “Facebook has layered its executive, legal, policy and communications ranks with high-powered politicos from both parties, beefing up its firepower for future battles in Washington and beyond. There’s Sheryl Sandberg, the former Clinton administration official who is chief operating officer, and Ted Ullyot, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who is general counsel, among others. The latest candidate is Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s former press secretary, whom Facebook is trying to lure to its communications team. … With good reason, political and legal analysts say. Barely seven years after it was born in a Harvard dorm room, Facebook, as much as any other company, is redefining the notion of privacy and transforming communications, media, and advertising. … While the company has come under fire for a series of privacy stumbles, it largely remains a darling of politicians. But Facebook has watched the missteps of Microsoft and Google in Washington, and knows its current skirmishes are merely a prelude to looming clashes over its influence.”


Politico: “White House lobbyist Dan Turton is leaving his administration post to work for the energy company Entergy, which is the second largest generator of nuclear power in the country. … Turton will leave the administration, where he runs point for President Barack Obama in the House of Representatives, and head Entergy’s Washington office. His last day at the White House is Thursday and he starts Friday at Entergy. … And Turton’s experience working at the White House and on Capitol Hill was a selling point. … “Dan Turton will play a key role in effectively positioning Entergy’s voice in the ever-evolving energy policy debate in Washington,” Entergy executive vice president Rod West said in a statement. “His more than 20 years of experience in both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government will be extremely valuable in this important leadership role. We are particularly pleased with his proven ability to work effectively across all political parties and affiliations; this skill is particularly relevant to us as our political leaders and federal agencies address the challenges facing today’s energy industry.”