Remember last month when many people were mad about the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act? Remember the war between politicians who said these bills would repel online piracy and opponents who said it might break the internet and/or kill free speech online?
Gamers' biggest target for their ire about those bills was the Entertainment Software Association, the lobbying group funded by the biggest video game publishers in the world. The ESA—which also hosts the massive trade show E3 each year—was for those bills and, like any lobbying group, spent money trying to get their position turned into law.
Lobbyists are required to file reports about their activities every three months. That's why we were able to report that the ESA spent as much as $190,000 paying people to lobby for PIPA, the Senate's now-shelved anti-online-piracy bill, through the spring and summer.
As the anger over SOPA and PIPA reached a boil last month, we were still in the dark about how much money the ESA was spending to try to support those bills this fall (they declined to tell us). But on the same day, Jan 20, that they finally disavowed the bills, they filed their required fourth-quarter lobbying report.
Here it is:
The document lists lobbying about SOPA and PIPA among the group's causes that they spent $1,082,167.00 on between October 1 and December 31. (That's basically what they spend every three months.) They also lobbied about tax policy, immigration and other issues tied to the business of making video games.
In that period, the group did spend $50,000 for the Smith-Free Group to lobby for PIPA and a handful of other issues and $50,000 for the Monument Policy Group to push for SOPA and lobby on several other issues.
The filings don't consistently state the ESA's positions on the bills, but the group had expressed clear support for the anti-piracy issues until the 20th, a day after both bills were essentially abandoned in the Senate and House.