Republican Lobbyist to Head RIAA

With Republicans controlling the White House and both the Senate and the House of Representatives, The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has turned to Republican lobbyist Mitch Bainwol to replace Hilary Rosen as its chairman and CEO.

Rosen, who led the contentious legal battle against file-swapping services for the powerful music trade organization, resigned in June after nine years as the organization’s chief lobbyist.

Bainwol who currently runs the lobbying firm The Bainwol Group, is the former chief of staff to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). He also served as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and before that, chief of staff to Senator Connie Mack (R-FL) for nine years.

“Mitch Bainwol has a strong reputation as an articulate and highly effective leader. His experience in the political arena is extensive and multi-faceted, and he enjoys the respect of legislators on both sides of the aisle. Mitch’s track record of developing strategic initiatives that get real results makes him the perfect choice to lead the RIAA,” said Michele Anthony, EVP of Sony Music Entertainment.

Bainwol will serve as the recording industry’s chief advocate. Rosen, who had been with the RIAA for 17 years, became a lightening rod for criticism during a time of unprecedented change in the music business. Wired magazine voted Rosen as “The Most Hated Name in Music” for her role in organizing the legal efforts that have led courts to order the shutdown of Napster.

The RIAA under Rosen has been adamant in its fight against online piracy. In addition to its landmark victory over Napster, the organization has been relentless in pursuing other file-swapping services such as Kazaa and Madster. Earlier this year, the RIAA scored another significant legal victory when a Washington, D.C., district court ordered Verizon to comply with a subpoena demanding the name of a subscriber who, according to the RIAA, was downloaded large amounts of copyrighted songs.

That legal victory has led the RIAA to file thousands of subpoena requests with Internet service providers for the names of other alleged file swappers.

“Mitch brings to the RIAA the consummate insider’s understanding of political nuance in Washington,” said Roger Ames, chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group. “I’m confident he has the ability to clearly communicate the issues and challenges the music industry faces and to partner effectively with the computer, consumer electronics and music publishing businesses to help us address those issues in all appropriate forums.”

Bainwol’s official statement included, “What could be more rewarding than helping to promote two great American traditions: music and property rights?”

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