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Hilary Rosen

Hilary B. Rosen became chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America in 1998.

Under Rosen, the RIAA expanded its controversial attempts to limit the swapping of copyrighted music, a practice whose popularity increased dramatically as the number of multimedia-capable personal computers connected to the Internet grew. During her tenure, the RIAA and similar lobbying groups have achieved many legal victories in the United States, including:

Rosen also created initiatives designed to encourage industry adoption of new digital copyright protection technologies, including copy protected CDs and a number of digital rights management-enabled media formats for personal computers. Copy protected CDs did not prove popular with consumers as they cannot be played in most car CD players or on PCs, and only a few pilot titles were ever distributed with the technology. DRM enabled media formats, which include cryptographic mechanisms to prevent unauthorized copying and distribution, proved similarly unpopular with consumers, who evidently prefer the competing unprotected formats.

Despite the RIAA's hardball tactics, online file-swapping has continued to grow, causing many people (including some within the RIAA) to question the effectiveness of their aggressive tactics. Indeed, many believe that Rosen's actions only served to further alienate consumers and even some popular artists from the very music industry the RIAA seeks to protect.

On January 22, 2003, Rosen announced that she will resign as head of the RIAA at the end of 2003, officially in order to spend more time with her partner, Elizabeth Birch, and the couple's twin daughters. However, many media reports of Rosen's resignation indicated that RIAA member executives had become increasingly dissatisfied with Rosen's tactics and her inability to rein in mp3 sharing online.

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