A White House source confirmed reports that
Victoria Espinel, the White House's Intellectual Property Enforcement
Coordinator, has stepped down. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Administrator Howard Shelanski has been named acting IPEC chief until a
permanent replacement can be found.
The IPEC oversees
the White House's efforts to combat intellectual property infringement,
including the theft of copyrighted TV shows and movies.
In 2009, the
President tapped Espinel, a former intellectual property adviser in the House
and Senate, to be the fist IPEC, working out of the Office of Management and
Budget. The post was created by the Pro-IP Act.
During her tenure,
according to a White House source, arrests were up 159%, indictments up 264%,
and convictions up 103%. Also during that time, Cablevision, Comcast, Time
Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T and content creators launched the Six Strikes
initiative to reduce online infringement by peer-to-peer sites.
She also pushed for
legislation to clarify that live streaming illegal copies of movies and TV
shows was just as much a crime as downloading them.
Just last month,
Espinel outlined a new IP action plan,
including trying to assess the efficacy of Six Strikes and coming up with best
practices for that and other voluntary industry initiatives.
"Victoria did a fine job as
the nation's first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator," said
Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn. "She was always open to hearing, and
often solicited, the viewpoints of copyright reformers like Public Knowledge,
and on occasion even incorporated our ideas in her strategic reports.
Importantly, she understood the importance of balance and fair use in copyright
policy - these were not merely buzzwords for her."