NBCU raises anti-piracy profile

Signalling an increased emphasis on intellectual property rights, NBC Universal is moving one of its senior communication executives, Cory Shields, to a newly created position of executive vice president for global policy strategies.

For the past three years, Shields has been the main public relations adviser to the NBC Universal chief executive, Jeff Zucker. "One of the most important issues facing this company and indeed every media company is the protection of intellectual property," Zucker told staff in a note announcing the appointment.

NBC has been among the most active of the media companies in arguing for protection of its copyrighted material. The company has challenged Web sites such as YouTube for posting comedy videos from shows including ‘Saturday Night Live’. NBC was also a strong backer of the Pro Intellectual Property Act signed in 2008.

NBC’s anti-piracy efforts are headed by its corporate counsel, Rick Cotton, who said that it had "become clear that we need a senior executive who can serve as our dedicated communications strategist on IP issues."

Shields is expected to be the contact person for NBC’s intellectual property legislative agenda in Washington as well as internationally in London and Brussels.