The Authors Guild announced this morning that Mary Rasenberger, a lawyer and six-year Copyright Office and Library of Congress veteran, will take over as executive director of the organization on November 3. She succeeds Paul Aiken who will continue to consult for the Guild. Last year, Aiken announced that he had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

“I’m delighted to hand the reins to someone of Mary’s caliber,” said Aiken. “I’ve known her for years. She’s energetic, very smart, and knows her way around Washington. She’s a perfect fit for the job. And I have a new cause,” added Aiken, referring in part to his blog about ALS at

“Mary brings with her exactly what the Guild needs today,” said president Roxana Robinson. “She’s a proven leader, a brilliant copyright lawyer and—especially important to us—a devotee of the written word.”

Rasenberger has had a career “at the intersection of the arts, media, and the law,” the Guild noted. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Rasenberger joined White & Case in New York City, practicing in the firm’s intellectual property department. She served as BMG Music’s associate director for legal and business affairs, then worked at the Intellectual Property and Technology Department of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Rasenberger was then counsel to Morrison & Foerster’s Technology Transactions Group before moving to Washington in 2002, where she joined the Copyright Office as policy planning advisor and then serving as its senior advisor for Public Policy. In 2006, she became director of the Library of Congress’s National Digital Preservation Program. Rasenberger returned to New York and private practice in 2008, but still drafted the charter for the Library of Congress’s National Digital Stewardship Alliance and oversaw the recently published 1,200-page revision of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices.

“This is a dream job,” Rasenberger said. “I’ve focused most of my career on authors’ rights, and I’ve long admired the Guild’s spirit and advocacy. I’m thrilled to contribute what I can to the Guild’s noble mission and help ensure that writing remains a viable profession.”