Who is leading the U.S. Government’s attack on songwriters? A high level bureaucrat at the Justice Department named Renata B. Hesse who is Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal and Civil Operations, a position that does not require confirmation by the Senate as it is filled by the Assistant Attorney General.
Who is this person?
Ms. Hesse’s official Justice Department bio says this about what she did prior to rejoining DOJ:
Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Renata practiced at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP in San Francisco, California, where her work primarily focused on complex litigation involving intellectual property and antitrust issues in technology industries.
That’s it. No other law firm mentioned and no years given. The reference appears to refer to the last time Ms. Hesse joined the antitrust division in 2002, not her current position. Check it yourself.
This is a clever ambiguity, but her LinkedIn profile tells another story about what she did prior to joining the DOJ in 2012–her current employment as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal and Civil Operations:
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
July 2006 – June 2011 (5 years)
Section Chief, Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
January 2002 – May 2006 (4 years 5 months)
Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison
1990 – 1997 (7 years)
In other words, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hesse has been on the revolving door before, immediately prior to being hired by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati–Google’s principle law firm and therefore the dominant law firm in Silicon Valley.
What did she work on while at Wilson Sonsini? Google.
Ms. Hesse, in her own words, used to do “a lot of work for Google” shortly before rejoining the Justice Department–where she evidently has amassed the unilateral power to make this bizarre decision on 100% licensing. And who benefits? Google and particularly YouTube in its dispute with Global Music Rights and anyone else who might try to escape the government’s boot on their throat. Is this another example of Google’s government capture? It is beginning to look a lot like an early Christmas at the Googolplex.
According to an interview from 2008, while Ms. Hesse was employed by Wilson Sonsini (the job omitted from her official DOJ bio), she was pretty busy with Wilson Sonsini’s most important client. How do we know that? Because she said so:
Renata Hesse: Typically when we do counseling, people come to us and say, “Hey, I really would like to do this. Is that okay?” and sometimes you get some pretty interesting questions that way. Usually, the business people are the ones who are thinking of the clever ways of making sure that their products succeed and not the lawyers.
Adrian Bye: Right. There’re been obviously antitrust issues between Google and Yahoo! Are you able to comment on any of those?
Renata Hesse: I’m not, really, I’m afraid since I did a lot of work for Google on it.
So what this should tell you all is that once again, crony capitalism rules supreme in Washington and GMR must have a pretty good case because the U.S. Government is changing the rules and moving the goal posts to try to stop them.
We’re sure there’s a good explanation for this oversight in an official biography that apparently has been posted publicly on the People’s website for four years or so without being corrected.
We just can’t imagine what that explanation would be. It probably makes about as much sense as the U.S. government freezing mechanical royalties for songwriters at 2¢ for 68 years. Because we let them get away with it.