Contrary to its descriptive-sounding name, the position of “piracy czar” doesn’t actually require knowledge of swashbuckling and looking good why wearing an eye patch.
No, it’s actually a role created by Congress under the PRO-IP Act to help manage official positions on intellectual property, piracy, and other tech policy related to the two. And since many of you reading this article probably consume a fair amount of digital media, it would be wise to keep an eye on any news involving a piracy czar.
Yesterday the Obama administration nominated Danny Marti to assume the role, which carries the more official-sounding title of “intellectual property enforcement coordinator” (IPEC). Marti’s background includes legal work on various cases involving digital rights, computer fraud, copyright protection, cybersquatting, and more, as THR points out. He’s currently a managing partner for law firm Kilpatrick Townsend in the District of Columbia, and he seems well-versed when it comes to matters of piracy. He also has a somewhat glowing approval from MPAA chairman and former Senator Christopher Dodd. (So take it as you will.)
If approved, Marti would be the second person to assume the IPEC position since it was created in 2008. The first was Victoria Espinel, who departed in 2013 after helping to devise a “copyright alert system,” to overhaul the country’s ancient patent law system, and even to explain to the Obama administration why it shouldn’t endorse the very unpopular Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
That said, the piracy czar role is one that has the potential to set forth copyright and IP policies that actually make sense for the digital era.