Former intellectual property chief to lead software lobby

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At the White House, Espinel encouraged companies to take voluntary steps to combat online piracy and the sale of counterfeit products on the Web. Last month, the White House partnered with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other online advertising companies to unveil a set of best practices aimed at keeping ads off of pirate sites.

She advocated for legislation to crack down harder on online piracy, including making it a felony to offer unauthorized video streams of copyrighted material. But Espinel was one of three Obama administration officials who signed a blog post expressing concern with the effect that the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would have on the Internet.  

BSA initially applauded lawmakers for introducing SOPA, but later warned the bill would go too far. 

“Victoria brings an extraordinary wealth of expertise on key issues at the intersection of trade policy, market access and IP protection," BSA Board Chairman Pascal Di Fronzo said in a statement. "She will be an outstanding advocate for our industry.”

In a statement, Espinel said the software industry "drives growth and productivity in all sectors of the global economy, and it enriches modern life." 

"BSA will continue to be a forceful and effective advocate on issues central to the next phase of the industry’s growth as rapid changes in the digital landscape create new opportunities and policy priorities,” she said.

Espinel also served in the Bush administration in the U.S. Trade Representative's Office. Prior to that, she worked as an attorney for Covington & Burling and Sidley Austin.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said in a statement that Espinel is the "right choice" to lead BSA.