RIAA Government Lobbying Spending Rocketed


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The Recording Industry Association of America spent $2.1 million in first quarter 2011, which is up 74% from the amount it spent the quarter previous on lobbying on IP rights in different countries and on attempts to end radio’s exemption from paying performance royalties like everyone else.

The published statistics reveal that the RIAA spent $2.1 million in the first quarter of this year on lobbying the US federal government on Performance rights law, along with the other issues close to its mission. This is what a disclosure report says, published by the Office of the Clerk for the US House of Representatives. The reported amount is over 65% up from the $1.36 million the RIAA spent a year ago. Moreover, it is up 74% from the $1.51 million the music industry spent the quarter previous.

Most part of $2.1 million is reported to be spent on lobbying for Performance Rights law. As a result, the White House is convinced that the legislation in question is necessary for protecting US workers and businesses. The matter is that terrestrial radio, unlike webcasters and satellite radio (which pay royalties to everyone: songwriters, performers, and record labels), only has to pay royalties to songwriters, while being exempted from the obligation to pay to artists and record labels in the name of artist promotion.

However, the Recording Industry Association of America doesn’t like that and claims that the absence of such a right puts American rights holders at a disadvantage internationally, according to a white paper on IP Enforcement Legislative Recommendations the outfit submitted to Congress three months ago. The RIAA argues that the copyright owners can’t collect overseas royalties just because they don’t have such rights in the United States.

This must be a very important matter to record labels, as the outfit spent heavily lobbying US government on the matter, especially the “Local Radio Freedom Act”, which is supposed to prevent Congress from imposing any new royalties on the country’s radio station broadcasters.

Meanwhile, the Recording Industry Association of America seemed to distance itself from its own proposal to help the National Association of Broadcasters lobby US government to demand that all mobile phones include an FM tuner. Finally, the RIAA also spent money on the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and on IP theft in different countries.