Since domain seizures based upon claims by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began occurring in late November, some have questioned how the entertainment industry organizations were so empowered to provoke such action with a lack of legal justification and due process for their targets. Details of the financial activities of these organizations during the 3rd quarter of 2010, however, reveal what may be the answer.
Disclosure reports filed with the House clerk’s office in October show that the MPAA and RIAA combined spent over $1.8 million dollars during the July – September period of this year to lobby the federal government regarding their respective causes. A portion of that money, the reports show, was spent on lobbying officials to push for mandates that would regulate “certain traffic on the Internet”.
The total amount spent on lobbying by the RIAA in Q3 was $1.29 million, which is actually down from the $1.40 million they spent during the prior quarter. In addition to internet regulation, the organization was also encouraging a bill that would require royalties to be sent to performers and labels when their content is played over the radio waves.
The MPAA, however, actually increased their lobbying dollars in the fall, though they did not spend nearly as much as the RIAA. The $520 thousand they spent in Washington was up almost $100k over what they had spent in Q2. The report also showed that the organization specifically targeted the Department of Homeland Security as well as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the period.
The lesson here is apparently that enough money filtered into the capitol region will get the laws bent, sometimes quite extremely, in your favor. Unfortunately, the victims of these organizations’ lobbying efforts will likely never be able to financially rival them.