The latest MPAA tax filing shows that the revenue generated by the anti-piracy group has started growing again after several years of decline. As a result the MPAA was able to double its legal spending and increase wages. After some earlier speculation, the filing reveals that MPAA boss and former Senator Chris Dodd earns a healthy income of more than $2.4 million a year.
Last year we asked whether the MPAA was dying but today we can report that’s most certainly not the case.
The MPAA’s latest tax filing to the IRS was published this week, covering the fiscal year 2011. Despite the long reporting delay, the figures show some interesting trends.
After the group’s revenue was cut in half to $49.6 million during the previous three years, it started growing again in 2011. The filing lists total revenue at $60.8 million, which is a direct result of an increase in membership dues from the movie studios.
Despite the extra income, the MPAA reduced its number of employees from 247 to 205 in a year. However, the group didn’t cut back on total employee compensation which rose from $21.7 to $24.5 in the same time frame, with 10% going to MPAA boss Chris Dodd.
When former senator Dodd was appointed early 2011 the New York Times estimated his salary at $1.5 million, but this figure turned out to be $900,000 light. During his first year Dodd received a little over $2.4 million in compensation.
Robert Pisano, who stepped down as MPAA president in 2011, is placed second with an income of $1.3 million, followed by MPAA’s Senior Vice President Michael O’Leary with $530,000.
Looking at some of the other expenses we see that MPAA’s lobbying budget remained stable at $4.7 million. Legal costs on the other hand nearly doubled from $5.6 to $10.1 million.
More than two million of these legal expenses was paid to the Australian law firm Gilbert Tobin, who represented the movie studios in their case against Internet provider iiNet. The MPAA’s aim in this case was to hold the ISP responsible for the copyright infringements of its subscribers, an effort that ultimately failed in April last year.
Every year the MPAA also hands out several grants and in 2011 this included $150,000 to both the democratic and the republican governors associations. The purpose of the grants was to “promote the film industry” and indeed, in the same year the governors came out as strong supporters of SOPA and PIPA.
Despite the iiNet loss and the SOPA / PIPA debacle, the MPAA also booked quite a few successes on the legal front. The group played an important role in several movie streaming domain seizures and arrests, as well was the conviction of Anton Vickerman in the UK and the NinjaVideo admins in the US.
All in all it’s safe to conclude that the MPAA is still a force to be reckoned with.