ESA spent $1.1M on lobbying fees

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) spent a whopping $1.1 million lobbying Congress, the FCC, the FTC and other government agencies during the third quarter of 2011.

According to Bloomberg, the ESA lobbied legislators about a wide variety of topics, such as energy efficiency, foreign trade policy reform and piracy/copyright issues. 

As expected, the association – whose members include Microsoft, Disney, EA and Sony – also lobbied on entertainment industry ratings and parental control technology.

The ESA is adamantly opposed to federal or state regulation of video games, believing the industry is more than capable of regulating itself using an indigenous ratings system, which is similar to the one employed by Hollywood.

The organization recently chalked up a significant victory when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a controversial California law that would have prohibited the sale of “violent” video games to minors in a landmark 7-2 vote.

Justice Antonin Scalia dubbed the proposed ban utterly unconstitutional, as it infringes on free speech rights. The nation’s highest court also rejected California’s insistence that violent games are equivalent to sexual material – which the state can supposedly restrict to protect children.

“Even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the court’s ruling.

Nevertheless, Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas dissented, while Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito stated they would have issued a narrower ruling.

“‘The Freedom of Speech,’ as originally understood does not include a right to speak to minors without going through the minors’ parents or guardians,” Thomas opined.