Lawmaker downplays RIAA job rumors

California Congresswoman Mary Bono denies reports that she hopes to replace Hilary Rosen at head of the recording industry organization, but stops short of ruling out a move there.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
Declan McCullagh
2 min read
Rep. Mary Bono, a California Republican, is denying reports that she hopes to become the record industry's next chief lobbyist.

Bono, who has taken a keen interest in copyright law, says that she currently has no plans to become the next head of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Its current chief executive, Hilary Rosen, said in January that she would step down after five years in the job.

Recent press "accounts are the result of some overly enthusiastic comments attributed to my chief of staff, who felt I was a natural candidate for this role due to my long history as a defender of intellectual property issues," Bono said in a statement sent by an aide to CNET News.com on Tuesday. "He was merely responding to speculation contained in numerous press articles that I was one of several members of Congress being considered for this position."

Rosen's departure from the RIAA at the end of June comes at a turbulent time for the music industry organization, which is battling peer-to-peer piracy in the courts and in Congress. It recently won a legal battle against Verizon Communications to learn the identity of a Kazaa user, and it is opposing a new bill by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., that would require that a copyright holder file a lawsuit instead of delivering a form subpoena to a court clerk.

Bono, who did not completely rule out a move to the music industry organization, said: "I have never spoken directly with anyone at the RIAA about this job, and I have not interviewed for this position. I am extremely fortunate that I already have my 'dream job,' and I fully intend to continue to serve in Congress and seek re-election for another term."

Bono's statement was meant to end a brief flurry of speculation about her future career plans that began with a report last Friday on Billboard magazine's Web site. The music publication quoted Bono's chief of staff as saying that, if the RIAA had asked her to take the job, "it would be very hard for her to turn it down."

In response to queries, RIAA said on Tuesday that it was "not commenting on the search process."

Earlier on Tuesday, Bono joined a handful of colleagues at an event to introduce a congressional antipiracy caucus, a move endorsed by the RIAA.

During the tenure of Rosen--dubbed "The Most Hated Name in Music" by Wired magazine--the RIAA became something akin to a household name as it fought to subdue Napster and to gain the right to disrupt other such file-sharing networks. More recently, the music industry group signed a kind of peace accord with the Business Software Alliance and the Computer Systems Policy Project.