RIAA & MPAA spend millions lobbying government officials

A disclosure report indicates the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) invested approximately $430,000 for lobbying US Government officials during the second quarter of 2010.

The copyright enforcement group only spent $370,000 during the first quarter, and the $430,000 Q2 figure is a year-over-year drop from $460,000 in 2009. According to paperwork filed with the House clerk, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Office of the President, Justice Department and other government departments were lobbied by the tradegroup.

This is a shared trend among the MPAA and other entertainment industry trade groups that spend money to help make things happen faster in Washington.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which looks after the interests of major record studios, also invests heavily each quarter in political lobbying. As part of its efforts to promote tougher intellectual property laws about 3 years ago, the RIAA spent $2 million in one 12-month period to have legislation passed.

There is a strong tie between trade groups and Washington D.C., with several former RIAA executives now on Obama’s staff. The RIAA is a private trade group and its quarterly budget — and money dedicated to lobbying — isn’t public knowledge.

Prior to Obama’s presidency, there was confusion among copyright experts and journalists as to what to expect during the four-year presidency. Sen. John McCain promised sweeping copyright enforcement in the United States, though Obama promised changes would be made as well.

There was also some concern among consumer groups regarding Joe Biden’s election as Vice President, as he has been notoriously pro-RIAA and pro-MPAA in the past.

It’s not uncommon to find almost all major companies with public donations to certain lawmakers and legislators — and the RIAA and MPAA don’t invest nearly as much as other companies operating in different business sectors. The MPAA and RIAA use their connections in Washington to help pass legislation to prevent peer-to-peer file sharing and other matters.

Let’s just hope our publicly elected (and non-elected) officials prioritize the citizenry’s best interests over the requests of special interest groups such as the RIAA and MPAA.