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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Aug 13, 2013

Known as the “Copyright Czar,” Victoria Espinel has stepped down from her role as the White House’s intellectual property chief. She served as the first intellectual property officer, and established the Pro-IP Act of 2008 which increased criminal penalties for trademark, patent, and copyright infringement. She was appointed in 2009, by President Obama and confirmed by the senate that same year.

Part of Espinel’s legacy includes encouraging private-sector entities to come up with best practices to fight piracy online. She also made an effort to deter the barrage of counterfeit products being sold on the internet at fractions of original cost. Last month, amidst growing insecurity over the government’s interference with the internet; Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft met in Washington to discuss how to get ads off pirate sites.

Espinel also pushed for making illegal streaming of online content a felony on some cases, not just downloading. During her stay at the White House, arrests were up 159%, indictments were up 264% and convictions up 103%. She stepped down from her role on Friday, and will be temporally replaced by Howard Shelanski, who works in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget until a new person is appointed.

The Copyright Czar was rumored to have left due to a CEO position vacancy at BSA, a trade group which represents software companies in court. Some of BSA’s clients include Microsoft and McAfee. The former CEO of BSA, Robert Holleyman stepped down to launch a new endeavor called Cloud 4 Growth which utilizes cloud technology for governments and other organizations.

Before Espinel became the White House’s intellectual property chief, she taught intellectual property and trade law at George Mason University School of Law. She also served as a top official of intellectual property for the US Trade Representative.