Larry Lessig is pleased that president-elect Obama has chosen Elena Kagan, his dean at Harvard Law School, for solicitor general. Kagan is credited with attracting major legal scholars to Harvard, especially Cass R. Sunstein from the University of Chicago and, more recently, Lessig himself from the Stanford University Law School.

But Lessig may be less pleased with some of Obama’s justice picks, says CNet’s Declan McCullagh:

As president-elect, one of Obama’s first tech-related decisions has been to select the Recording Industry Association of America’s favorite lawyer to be the third in command at the Justice Department. And Obama’s pick as deputy attorney general, the second most senior position, is the lawyer who oversaw the defense of the Copyright Term Extension Act–the same law that Lessig and his allies unsuccessfully sued to overturn.

Obama made both announcements on Monday, saying that his picks “bring the integrity, depth of experience and tenacity that the Department of Justice demands in these uncertain times.” The soon-to-be-appointees: Tom Perrelli for associate attorney general and David Ogden for deputy attorney general.

Campaign rhetoric aside, this should be no surprise. Obama’s selection of Joe Biden as vice president showed that the presidential hopeful was comfortable with someone with firmly pro-RIAA views. Biden urged the criminal prosecutions of copyright-infringing peer-to-peer users and tried to create a new federal felony involving playing unauthorized music.

Matt Yglesias looks on the bright side of the Perrelli pick:

The good news is that since the recording industry has decided to adopt an overwhelmingly litigation-based approach to coping with technological change, rather than trying to be innovative in terms of their products or business practices, they probably put a lot of effort in making sure they’re hiring very good lawyers.

JOE WINDISH, Technology Editor
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