Capitol Hill veteran John Feehery has been appointedexecutive vice president and chief communications officer at the MPAA, whileRich Taylor becomes senior vice president of external affairs and education.

Feehery formerly served as press secretary to the Speaker of the House ofRepresentatives, Dennis Hastert. Based in Washington, the newly created postwill require him to oversee worldwide communications with the media and otherpublic constituents.

Taylor also assumes a newlycreated post and formerly served as vice president of public affairs. In hisnew role he will oversee third party strategic alliances in support of publicpolicy, content protection and public affairs programmes and projects, withparticular focus on the MPAA's anti-piracy agenda across all levels of the USeducation system.

Feehery has served 15 years in a varietyof staff positions on Capitol Hill. Taylor was a senior account executive withOgilvy Public Relations Worldwide and served on the staff of DemocraticCongressman Jim Chapman.

The MPAA announced yesterday a round of lawsuits against operators who useBitTorrent and eDonkey servers for illegal downloading of content. Lawenforcement authorities in Austria, France, the Netherlands and Finland aretaking similar action against violators.