http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=sto...2&u=/nm/20030123/music_nm/music_riaa_rosen_dc Swan Song for Music Biz Lobbyist Thu Jan 23, 4:08 AM ET By Justin Oppelaar and Pamela McClintock NEW YORK (Variety) - Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA (news - web sites)) chairman Hilary Rosen will resign at the end of the year, after nearly two decades with the music industry's lobbying arm -- including four tumultuous years on the front line of a pitched battle against Internet piracy. Rosen did not name a successor. The RIAA will form a committee to search for a chief over the next several months. Cary Sherman, the group's president, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations. Rosen departs amid one of the most difficult times in the history of the music business: the record labels are fighting an uphill battle against rampant digital piracy while struggling to develop business models of their own in cyberspace. The RIAA's announcement was rushed out under the gun Wednesday, after the information began to spread around the industry and later to online news outlets. Rosen cited a desire to eliminate any distractions caused by potential rumors -- and to spend more time with her family -- as the main reasons for her departure. "I've been at RIAA for 17 years, my children are young and I have made this announcement knowing it's several months down the road so we can get it out of the way and focus on the tasks at hand," Rosen told Daily Variety. "There has been a dramatic shift in the music industry, and I think that the record companies are just now starting to come out on the other side." Rosen has been the public face of the industry throughout the piracy crisis -- spearheading the copyright-infringement suit that eventually crushed Napster (news - web sites) last year, and taking a considerable amount of heat from irate devotees of the peer-to-peer services. "She has been a lightning rod because of the incendiary ship she was trying to steer," one Hollywood executive said. "The music industry was the first to get attacked by pirates. No one would have wanted to be in that position." That battle is likely to move to a new level in the coming months. Rosen's efforts led to a recent court decision that cleared the way for the record business to identify individual users of file-sharing networks -- potentially exposing those users to legal action. She also represented the industry's point of view in the fierce debate over artists' rights and recording contracts, which heated up over the past two years in a series of hearings in Washington and the California State Legislature. The record executives that Rosen represented to the press and Capitol Hill had nothing but praise for the way she navigated the perilous path ahead of her. "Hilary Rosen has been a tremendous advocate for the recorded music industry," EMI North America CEO David Munns said. "She has been incredibly effective in raising awareness about the important value and impact that music has on our lives, our culture and our economy. She has also been extremely influential in both transforming the music industry in the digital age and in fighting piracy." Added Universal Music Group chairman Doug Morris: "Throughout her tenure, her insights, dedication and passion have benefited everyone (who) loves music. She'll be greatly missed." Warner Music Group chief executive Roger Ames called Rosen "a remarkable leader, and when she leaves at the end of the year, she will take with her our sincere gratitude, respect and admiration." VALENTI VALIDATION She's also earned accolades from her counterpart in film, Motion Picture Assn. of America president Jack Valenti. The two have been close partners on a number of initiatives in Washington and elsewhere, and have stood shoulder to shoulder in the piracy debate. "Hilary has been a valiant, brave leader for the U.S. music industry," Valenti said. "I confess that I am an ardent admirer of her skills, her tenacity and her integrity. She'll be a hard act to follow." Rosen has had a Herculean task over the past few years in trying to balance the widely divergent opinions of the five major label groups on such critical issues as digital piracy. She was charged with presenting a united front to the outside world even as the labels bickered among themselves over how aggressive they should be in fighting copyright infringers. At the same time, she's had to suffer the slings and arrows of many an infuriated music consumer and media pundit who singled out Rosen as the embodiment of everything that's wrong with the music business. She was the subject of a closet industry of derision in cyberspace, ranging from furious rants on countless message boards to parody Web sites. Widely regarded in the entertainment business as smart and savvy, Rosen hasn't hesitated to stand up to Capitol Hill lawmakers who have routinely berated the music biz for turning out albums with violent and salacious lyrics. She's also been able to strike important compromises when necessary: Earlier this month, she signed a landmark treaty with Silicon Valley spelling out joint principles when it comes to fighting piracy. Deal eased months of acrimony between the music biz and the tech industry, which threatened to throw up a roadblock to fighting piracy.