Hilary Rosen

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Hilary Rosen
Hilllary Rosen testifies on Napster.jpg
Born 1958 (age 57–58)
West Orange, New Jersey
Known for Lobbyist for the RIAA & BP, punditry

Hilary Beth Rosen (born 1958) is an American communications consultant,[1] Democratic pundit, and former registered lobbyist.

She worked for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for 16 years, including as CEO from 1998 to 2003. During the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Rosen worked as a consultant to BP. She has worked for the public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker since 2010.

Early life[edit]

Rosen was born in West Orange, New Jersey in 1958. Her father worked as an insurance agent and her mother became the city's first councilwoman.[2][3] In high school, Rosen served as student council president.[2] She earned her bachelor's degree in international business from George Washington University in 1981.[4] Her parents divorced while Rosen was at college.[3]


In 1979, Rosen began working as a legislative assistant in the Washington, D.C. office of Governor Brendan Byrne (D-NJ),[5] who was a friend of Rosen's mother.[3][6] She also worked for Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) early in her career.[7] Rosen worked for the lobbying firm Liz Robbins Associates in the 1980s.[8]

Recording Industry Association of America[edit]

In 1987, at the age of 28, Rosen joined the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade organization that represents the American recording industry, as its first government relations director.[6][8] In 1989, she and her colleague Jay Berman updated the Parental Advisory label and launched its public awareness campaign.[8] In 1992, she took a brief leave from the RIAA to serve as Senator Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) transition director and set up the California Democratic Party's office in Washington, D.C.[7][9] In 1995, Rosen supported artists' rights when Bob Dole (R-K.S.), then Senate Majority Leader, criticized Time Warner and said that rap lyrics promoted violence and were degrading to women.[10][11] She became the organization's president and chief operating officer in May 1996,[8] leading the organization during a tumultuous time for the music industry.[2] Rosen was a strong supporter of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which became law in 1998, to prohibit the creation of technologies used to get around copyright protections.[12][13] Rosen was promoted to the role of chief executive officer (CEO) in 1998.[2] In 2000, the American musical recording company A&M Records along with several others, through the RIAA, sued Napster (A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc.) on grounds of contributory and copyright infringement under the DMCA.[14] Rosen presided over the lawsuit, which caused the pioneering peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing Internet service to shut down. As the face of the RIAA, she was vilified by proponents of free file sharing,[3][15] and even traveled with security at one point because she was receiving death threats.[2][4][6] In 2002, she was promoted from president and CEO to chairwoman and CEO.[16] The RIAA later sided with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who led a group of entertainment companies who filed a lawsuit against Grokster and Streamcast (maker of Morpheus) for inducing copyright infringement. In MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. (2005), the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the entertainment-industry plaintiffs, a decision Rosen supported publicly.[17][18]

As a registered lobbyist from 1999 to 2003,[19] Rosen influenced the decisions made by Congress on behalf of nearly 350 companies and thousands of artists represented by the RIAA.[8] During her tenure, she supported efforts for digital copyright protection, including technology that prevented CDs from being copied,[13] and established the RIAA Diamond certification, which recognizes albums that have shipped more than 10 million copies.[20] Rosen said the award, which was named as such because "diamonds are valuable [and] no two are alike", represented "a quantum leap" for the music industry and an expansion of the national music market.[20] She also encouraged partnerships between the recording industry and online music businesses,[21] and consulted on the launch of digital music services such as Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store.[22] Rosen was recognized for advancing the industry's political efforts and appeared on lists of influential leaders, including Entertainment Weekly's "Annual Power List" and National Journal's "Washington's Powerful Insiders".[7] She was included in The Hollywood Reporter's list of the most powerful women in entertainment in 1998,[23] 2000 (number 10),[24][25] 2002 (number 17),[26] and 2003 (number 10).[27]

In June 2003, after working for the organization for seventeen years, Rosen resigned to spend more time with her family.[4] Following her resignation, she reportedly "questioned the value of lawsuits against individual downloaders" said she had attempted to "push the industry to evolve".[6] In 2007, she said, "I won't be a George Tenet here, but it's pretty well known that I was impatient with the pace of the industry's embrace of online distribution of music. There's no substitute for speed when times are dire. The record companies had valid reasons for their caution, but that caution let the situation get out of hand."[6]

Media roles[edit]

Rosen is a Democratic strategist and political pundit.[6][7][28] She was a regular political columnist for The Washington Post, has authored articles for many national publications, and provided political commentary for CNBC and MSNBC.[4][7] In 2008, she became a CNN contributor, appearing on regular programming as well as special political coverage.[7] Also in 2008, Rosen became the first Washington editor-at-large and political director of The Huffington Post.[4][7] In 2010, she and The Huffington Post, which was editorially critical of BP following the the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,[6] reached a mutual decision to part ways when Rosen's firm, Brunswick Group, began consulting for the British oil and gas company.[4][15][29] In April 2012, Rosen was criticized for saying that Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life" when discussing Mitt Romney’s reliance on his wife as an adviser on women’s issues during a CNN appearance. Rosen apologized the next day.[30][31] In 2013, Rosen began writing for The Washington Post as an opinion contributor.[32]

Communications consultant[edit]

In 2006, Rosen and Jay Berman, who formerly worked at RIAA, briefly ran the firm Berman Rosen Global Strategies, consulting for tech companies such as Facebook, Viacom, and XM.[6] In 2008, she joined the public relations firm Brunswick Group to head its Washington, D.C. office.[6][33][34] In 2010, Rosen became a partner and managing director at the political communications and public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker, leading the company alongside Anita Dunn.[4][35][36] The firm is best known for its work on progressive issues and focuses on Democrats in its political work.[37] As a communications consultant, Rosen attended the White House on multiple occasions during Barack Obama's presidency. At least five meetings were with the president to discuss messaging around his health care reform plans.[6][15] Following her 2012 comments regarding Ann Romney, Rosen was the subject of critical coverage by some media outlets, which noted White House visitor logs and speculated whether Rosen or SKDKnickerbocker employees were operating as "unofficial" or "unregistered" lobbyists.[38][39][40][41] Rosen has advised many national candidates, and in 2012 The Wall Street Journal reported that she was consulting with Debbie Wasserman Schultz during her time as chair of the Democratic National Committee.[6][7][42] SKDKnickerbocker was selected by Edie Windsor's legal team to lead the public relations efforts behind the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (United States v. Windsor, 2013).[43] In 2014, Rosen and Dunn served as senior advisors to the LGBT rights group Americans for Marriage Equality.[44] Planned Parenthood hired Rosen in 2015 to help with the organization's public relations crisis.[45] Rosen and SKDKnickerbocker were assisting Susan G. Komen for the Cure with a public relations campaign for an environmental research initiative when the Planned Parenthood controversy arose.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Rosen is a lesbian. She adopted twins, a boy and a girl, with former partner Elizabeth Birch.[46]


  1. ^ Jim Geraghty (12 April 2012) Who Is Hilary Rosen? Crass? Gilded? Stern? National Review. Retrieved 7 December 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e Holson, Laura M. (August 20, 2001). "Recording Industry's Top Lobbyist Seeks Harmony in a Time of Discord". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Bai, Matt (February 1, 2003). "Hating Hilary". Wired. Condé Nast. ISSN 1059-1028. OCLC 24479723. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Weinger, Mackenzie. "10 things about Hilary Rosen". Politico. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  5. ^ Swisher, Kara (June 26, 1995). "She Sings the Music Industry's Praises". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 18, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Weiner, Rachel (April 12, 2012). "Who is Hilary Rosen?". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Hilary Rosen: Political Commentator". CNN. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Weeks, Linton (July 30, 1997). "Turning Up the Power". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Hilary Rosen Joins Brunswick Group as Managing Partner of Washington Office" (Press release). PR Newswire. Brunswick Group. November 21, 2008. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  10. ^ Harrington, Richard (June 7, 1995). "The Song Remains the Same". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  11. ^ Landler, Mark (June 5, 1995). "Time Warner Seeks a Delicate Balance in Rap Music Furor". The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  12. ^ Evangelista, Benny (August 13, 2001). "Digital copyright law under fire / Millennium Act already out of date, critics say". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst. ISSN 1932-8672. OCLC 8812614. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Holson, Laura M. (January 23, 2003). "Recording Industry Lobbyist Plans to Leave Her Position". The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  14. ^ 17 U.S.C. A&M Records. Inc. v. Napster. Inc. 114 F. Supp. 2d 896 (N. D. Cal. 2000).
  15. ^ a b c Geraghty, Jim (April 12, 2012). "Who Is Hilary Rosen? Crass? Gilded? Stern?". National Review. ISSN 0028-0038. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  16. ^ "RIAA Elevates President Rosen". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. May 20, 2002. ISSN 0458-3035. OCLC 3638237. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  17. ^ Kantor, Andrew (July 1, 2005). "Despite reports, Grokster decision is a win for file sharing". USA Today. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  18. ^ Bemis, Alec Hanley (July 7, 2005). "Grokster Bites the Dust! Ho-hum". LA Weekly. Voice Media Group. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Query the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database". United States Senate.  Note: User must query the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database using "Rosen, Hilary" as the registered "Lobbyist Name".
  20. ^ a b Hiatt, Brian. "Metallica, Zeppelin, Billy Joel Honored for 10 Million-Plus Sales". MTV. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  21. ^ Holson, Laura (November 20, 2000). "Which Direction for Digital Music?". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  22. ^ Smolowe, Jill (October 24, 2011). "Steve Jobs: 1955–2011". People. Time Inc. 76 (16). ISSN 0093-7673. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  23. ^ "US recording industry head quits". BBC News. January 23, 2003. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Julia Elected to List of Powerful Women". ABC News. December 5, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  25. ^ Turner, Megan (December 5, 2000). "The Ladies Who Launch Entertainment Trends". New York Post. News Corp. ISSN 1090-3321. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  26. ^ Gumbel, Andrew (December 3, 2002). "J K Rowling flies the flag by breaking into Hollywood's list of powerful women". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Sony's Pascal named biggest female fish in Hollywood". USA Today. Gannett Company. December 3, 2003. ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Hillary Clinton prepares for Donald Trump's insult machine, which has already turned her way". The Times-Picayune. Advance Publications. April 4, 2016. ISSN 1055-3053. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  29. ^ Smith, Ben (June 4, 2010). "HuffPost cuts ties with BP consultant Rosen". Politico. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  30. ^ Madison, Lucy (April 12, 2012). "Hilary Rosen apologizes to Ann Romney for "poorly chosen" words". CBS News. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  31. ^ Little, Morgan (April 12, 2012). "Hilary Rosen reverses course, apologizes to Ann Romney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  32. ^ Shepherd, Ken (February 13, 2013). "WashPost Hires Democratic Flack Who Trashed Ann Romney As Having 'Never Worked a Day in Her Life'". NewsBusters.org. Media Research Center. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Rosen to Lead Brunswick's DC Office". Adweek. New York City: Prometheus Global Media. November 21, 2008. ISSN 0199-2864. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  34. ^ Ahrens, Frank (November 21, 2008). "Hilary Rosen to Lead Brunswick's D.C. Office". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  35. ^ Rosen joining SKDKnickerbocker: * Ciarallo, Joe (July 29, 2010). "Hilary Rosen Joins SKDKnickerbocker". Adweek. Retrieved May 11, 2016.  * Allen, Mike (July 29, 2010). "Rosen joins SKDKnickerbocker". Politico. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  36. ^ a b Pesta, Abigail (September 5, 2012). "Ex-Komen Official Karen Handel Attacks Planned Parenthood 'Thugs' in New Book". The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  37. ^ Gelles, David (October 8, 2015). "Mark Penn's Stagwell Group Will Acquire SKDKnickerbocker". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2016. 
  38. ^ Fang, Lee (April 13, 2012). "The Real Hilary Rosen Scandal". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  39. ^ Geraghty, Jim (April 12, 2012). "Hilary Rosen, Frequent White House Visitor". National Review. Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  40. ^ Weigel, David (April 13, 2012). "Meanwhile, Political Consultants Are Still Horrible". Slate. Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  41. ^ Huston, Warner Todd (February 13, 2013). "Washington Post Hires Lobbyist Hilary Rosen". Breitbart News Network. Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  42. ^ Langley, Monica (February 16, 2012). "Combative Top Democrat Gains Clout in Campaign". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  43. ^ "Out100: The Activists Who Shaped 2013". The Advocate. Here Media. November 13, 2013. ISSN 0001-8996. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  44. ^ Haberman, Maggie. "Gay-marriage backers start campaign". Politico. Retrieved May 18, 2016. 
  45. ^ Karni, Annie; Palmer, Anna (July 30, 2015). "Clinton's Planned Parenthood ties run deep". Politico. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  46. ^ Weinger, Mackenzie (April 12, 2012). "10 things about Hilary Rosen". Politico. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 

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