New faces for H'wood lobbies

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A number of entertainment industry lobbying outfits made moves Thursday to beef up their efforts to influence policy in Washington, with Viacom, NAB and the Digital Music Assn. announcing hires and promotions.

Perhaps the biggest coup, however, went to boutique firm the Fritts Group, which lured away former MPAA lobbyist Ken Inouye from electronic games trade group the Entertainment Software Assn. Inouye, son of Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, gives the organization run by former National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Edward Fritts a well-respected Democrat to add to its GOP bona fides.

Meanwhile, DiMA netted as its top lobbyist Greg Barnes, senior counsel to House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers, D-Mich. Barnes will join DiMA on Feb. 1 to become the association's legislative counsel and director of government affairs.

DiMA is one of the music industry's traditional opponents as it has battled over the way royalties are divvied up for music delivered over the Internet and on other digital platforms.

Also making a switch is entertainment industry lawyer/lobbyist Erik Huey, who is leaving the Venable firm to become a partner at the Kilpatrick Stockton law firm in their government relations group.

NAB, the music industry's main opponent on the performance royalty, also beefed up its roster, adding two staffers to its advocacy lobby shop. Erin Dozier has joined the legal and regulatory affairs department as associate general counsel, and Myra Dandridge has joined as director of government relations.

Dandridge served as Florida state press secretary for the Kerry-Edwards 2004 presidential campaign and was a Clinton-Gore presidential appointee at the Department of Labor. Dozier, who joined NAB this month, spent four years at the FCC's Media Bureau and worked as a communications attorney.

At least one of the copyright companies isn't sitting pat as Viacom tapped David A. Sutphen as senior vp government relations. In his new role, Sutphen will focus on cultivating and enhancing Viacom's relationships with key third-party constituency organizations.
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