Obama Nominates Donald Verrilli as Solicitor General

Donald Verrilli, a litigator who once represented Viacom in their case against Google and the movie studios in their landmark case against the Grokster file sharing service, has been nominated by President Obama to be the next solicitor general of the United States.

Verrilli currently is deputy counsel to Obama, and previously served as associate deputy attorney general in the Department of Justice under Eric Holder. He’ll succeed Elena Kagan, confirmed as a Supreme Court justice last year.

Verrilli worked in private practive at Jenner & Block on First Amendment, telecommunications and intellectual property law for some 20 years. Perhaps most famously for those in Hollywood was the MGM Studios vs. Grokster case, in which the Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that file sharing sites could be held liable if their objective is to promote its use for copyright infringement.

Viacom is appealing a U.S. District Court decision ruling last year that Google was protected by the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when users posted clips of copyrights material on YouTube. Ted Olson, who served as solicitor general under President George W. Bush, is leading the company’s appeal.

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