Green, French hired to help protect content

WASHINGTON — Anticipating more piracy woes with the transition to digital television broadcasts, NBC Universal announced Wednesday it has beefed up its content-protection staff by hiring two pedigreed IP lawyers for its lobbying office in D.C.

David E. Green, a veteran U.S. Justice Dept. attorney who developed the agency’s IP protection program and most recently a copyright protection specialist at the Motion Picture Assn. of America, has been named NBCU’s senior counsel for public policy development. He starts April 25.

Alec French, former minority counsel on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, started last week as the org’s senior counsel for government relations.

“To respond to the growing threat of IP theft, NBCU is expanding its government relations focus on digital content protection,” said NBCU exec veep and general counsel Rick Cotton in a statement. “The threat of piracy is global and goes beyond the music and movie industries to every business sector that has created a competitive advantage through ingenuity or creativity.”

Broadcasters are growing worried because digital signals — toward which the industry is moving — are easy to distribute and download via the Internet.

While French will focus on legislative initiatives and trends, Green will be developing outreach efforts with the online community and consumer electronics groups “to find common ground on IP policy and content protection,” according to NBCU.

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