The ESA Apparently Spent $190,000 Last year Lobbying In Favor Of PIPA

The Senate has once again fulfilled its obligation to make all documents related to the activities of lobbyists associated with the Senate, posting the data for Q2 and Q3 2011 to the Senate Website. As expected in a year filled with increasing worry about the possibly killed Stop Online Piracy Act and its senate counterpart, PIPA, we get a snapshot into the way various industries, via their paid lobbyists, have treated it. That includes the video gaming industry which, thanks to a little digging by Kotaku, we now know has supported PIPA for far longer than their public confirmation.

The ESA is represented in Washington by two lobbying firms: The Smith-Free Group and the Franklin Square Group. Disclosure documents filed by SFG confirm that the ESA paid them 60,000 dollars in Q2, and another 50K in Q3 to lobby the Senate regarding PIPA. They paid FSG 40K during each of the two periods for the same job, bringing their total lobbying-spending to a grand total of $190,000 through the end of Q3. Naturally, disclosure documents don’t explain what position ESA took during the period, but as Kotaku points out, having recently come out in favor of PIPA and SOPA, we have to assume they were lobbying the pro side even then.

Of course, $190,000 dollars is literally chump change in DC. However, we conducted an independent search of the current disclosure records in the House of Representatives and found that the ESA spent an additional (approximately) $300,000 lobbying the House during Q2 and Q3 on unspecified IP and Copyright issues. As SOPA wasn’t introduced in the house until October, we won’t know precisely how much money went to that cause until disclosure documents for Q4 are filed, which should begin this week.

Of course, we have to ask why the hell the gaming industry isn’t more opposed to proposed laws like this. It’s especially frustrating to see the ESA, so recently on the side of the angels regarding free speech rights in gaming, go to the dark side on an Open Internet. What do you think about this? Let us know in comments, and try to keep it civil. Unless you feel compelled to swear.

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