Hilary Rosen's iPod

Wired Magazine is running a human interest story on Hiliary Rosen in their February issue. For the rest of this year, she’ll be doing everything she can to soften the militant image she’s acquired during her grossly-misguided leadership of the RIAA, and this article is the start of that.

In the article, she’s the only person in the music industry that knows what’s going on (she implies), a lesbian who’s fought on the frontier of gay politics (she tells Wired), and is really a valiant — albeit misunderstood — defender of the consumer (she says).

Near the end of the story we learn that she’s the hypocritical owner of an iPod. And although most of the article is a puff piece — that’s the price of getting to talk with her — with this revelation the tone changes, and the article starts to intersect with reality.

As the forces of free music grow cagier and more diffuse, Rosen is confronting them with the same overwhelming legal force she used to bury Napster. She has repeatedly said that the industry is open to finding online partnerships that work, but she has shown little interest in teaming up with potential partners like Kazaa and Aimster, both of which she has taken to court in recent months.

“We’d be glad to sit down with them,” says Philip Corwin, Kazaa’s Washington lobbyist. “But when someone’s hitting you over the head with a 2-by-4, it’s hard to reach out your hand.”

Rosen’s public image has only worsened as she’s intensified her attack on file-sharing uploaders, using tactics that make John Ashcroft look timid.

Even friend/admirer Jim Griffin admits:

…at least thus far, she will be remembered not as an agent for constructive change, but as an agent standing in the way of constructive change.

Deservedly so.