Whoa: Major Labels Have Spent Nearly $100 Million On Lobbying Since 2000

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There’s a huge debate right now over how much the recording industry should be spending on the Hill.

But has an expenditure level of nearly $100 million since 2000 gotten the labels anything?

The estimate of “over $90 million” comes from the Center for Responsive Politics, which tallied the amount using lobbying filings.  What started with a measly $4 million in 2000 ballooned to $17.5 million by 2009, according to the company.

And, the tally doesn’t include hard-to-track efforts involving groups like the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  Oh, and legal fees related to endless lawsuits have topped $50 million over the period, according to the estimate, though the RIAA claims that a lot of that money comes back in settlements.

Either way, this sounds like money well squandered, except when you consider how much the other side is spending.  And why should the ISPs, wireless carriers, and Googles of the world get all the advantage?  After all, the DMCA is heavily tilted against content owners, and legislation doesn’t just magically appear – the wheels of Washington are greased with Benjamins.  On top of that, heavy-handed enforcement bills like COICA are being viewed as victories and signs of progress.

Then again, this is $100 million we’re talking about, an amount that could have been used inside the industry to better combat disruption.  Or, ’embrace’ technological chaos, instead of suing, lobbying, and ‘educating’ against it.