In its quest to stamp out piracy, the MPAA continues to pump money into its lobbying activities in the hope of planting the seeds of legislative change.
While the debate over whether corporations should be allowed to lobby crime-fighting organizations such as the police and FBI will rage on, at least there is an enforced level of transparency which allows the public to see where lobbyists are spending their money.
The MPAA have just made their mandatory disclosure for the first quarter of 2011 and it makes interesting reading.
In total the member companies of the MPAA – Disney, Sony, Warner Bros., Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Universal – spent $400,000 in the first three months of the year lobbying influential government departments. These included the office of Vice-President Joe Biden, a valuable MPAA ally in 2010 with his mantra of “Piracy Is Theft, Clean and Simple.”
In the filing, which covers the period from January 1st to March 31st, several government departments are listed repeatedly including the U.S Senate, House of Representatives, Homeland Security, Dept. of Justice, FBI, ICE, U.S. Copyright Office and U.S. Trade Representative.
On the back of moves to turn the activity into a felony, it’s no surprise that streaming illegal content featured heavily in the MPAA’s 1st quarter lobbying. Considering the huge effort already underway with domain seizures, many of them streaming-related, Operation in Our Sites remained firmly on the agenda.
Also listed is the issue of “Pay processors role in IP enforcement”, a reference to the developing strategy of strangling the revenue to sites that the MPAA believe are generating income from infringement.
In November 2010, file-hosting service RapidShare was among the first Internet services to be labelled by both the MPAA and RIAA as a so-called “Rogue Site”, a move which forced the cyberlocker service to initiate lobbying of its own.
In 2011 it is evident that Hollywood is continuing to pressure on the Swiss-based company. RapidShare is mentioned several times in the MPAA disclosure report under several headings, not least ‘Rogue Site Legislation’ and ‘Law Enforcement/Crime and Criminal Justice’.
Interestingly, ‘Graduated Response’ is also listed as a lobbying subject, although the U.S. appeared to rule out so-called “3 strikes” regimes earlier this month in response to a United Nations report.
On the educational front, the MPAA is keen to drive home the anti-P2P message to the country’s schools and universities. Equally it is pushing for anti-camcording activities in the Asia-Pacific region plus awareness of counterfeit movie usage at US military bases, a subject we’ve touched on previously.
The MPAA also discussed the anti-piracy company MiMTiD. A DMCA-related controversy connected to that company was covered by TechDirt in February.
The $400,000 spent by the MPAA in the first 3 months of 2011 represents a $30,000 uplift on the same period last year and a $60,000 increase on its spend during the final quarter of 2010.