Posts Tagged: "Mechanical Licensing Collective"

Mechanical Licensing Collective’s $424.4 Million Unmatched Royalty Collection Highlights Music Modernization Act’s Limited Liability Compromise

On February 16, the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) – a nonprofit organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office to administer blanket mechanical licenses to eligible streaming and download services in the United States –announced that it had received a total of $424.4 million in unmatched royalties accrued by 20 digital service providers (DSPs), including Spotify and Apple Music, during a three-year transition period under the terms of the Music Modernization Act (MMA). The transfer of unmatched royalties enables these DSPs to qualify for limited liability provisions under the MMA. At the same time, usage data submitted by DSPs associated with the accrued unmatched royalties is expected to help the MLC identify copyright owners for distributing royalty payments, the first of which are expected to be distributed this April.

Music Industry Groups Square Off Against Songwriters, Small Publishers in Mechanical Licensing Collective Battle

On October 11, the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA) was enacted into law after passing both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The bill was drafted in order to modernize U.S. copyright law as it relates to the licensing of copyright protected music for use in digital streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music. Such digital service providers (DSPs) may obtain a new kind of license created by the law, known as a blanket license, which covers the distribution of all musical works available for compulsory licensing. DSPs may then make these works available to consumers through covered activities, such as delivering digital phonorecords of musical works available in the form of a permanent download, a limited download or as an interactive stream.In short, the blanket license under the MMA allows Spotify and others to offer streaming music services without having to negotiate licenses with copyright-owning entities, including recording studios and songwriters. Instead, these streaming services would obtain a blanket license from the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), another new feature of the MMA. The MLC is a non-profit entity responsible for administering blanket licenses to DSPs, collecting and distributing royalties, enabling copyright owners to claim ownership of musical works and administering a process by which royalties for works with unidentified owners are equitably distributed to known copyright owners. The statutory language of the MMA directs the Register of Copyrights to designate the membership of the MLC within 270 days of enactment of the law. Given the date on which the MMA was enacted, this would indicate that July 8 of this year is the deadline for Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple to designate the MLC that would start administering blanket licenses at the beginning of 2021. There are two groups that have proposed their own membership of the MLC to the Copyright Office: a coalition of major publishers from the music industry, including the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), Songwriters of North America (SONA) and Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI); and the American Music Licensing Collective (AMLC), a collection of songwriters, musicians, tech developers and executives from smaller rights organizations and publishers within the music industry.

Copyright Office Seeks Mechanical Licensing Collective Members

The U.S. Copyright Office recently published a Notice in the Federal Register regarding Title I of the Orrin G. Hatch – Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA). This section of the law created a new blanket licensing system that governs the licensed uses of musical works by digital music providers. In this recent notice, the Copyright Office is seeking input to identify entities which are appropriate for inclusion in the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) that will manage the new blanket licensing system.

Musically Inclined: The Music Modernization Act of 2018

When Congress permitted sound recordings to be copyrighted over four decades ago, it didn’t extend that coverage to pre-1972 recordings. This issue, and the piecemeal nature of licensing for digital music on a per-work, per song basis, were part of the impetus for the stakeholders in the music industry to work together to create the Music Modernization Act, signed into law on October 11, 2018… Not all issues in the music industry were solved by the Music Modernization Act: licensing of physical sound recordings (vinyl and CDs) will still occur on a per-work, per song basis. Terrestrial radio pays songwriters and publishers royalties for playing music, but it doesn’t pay performance or sound-recording royalties. And while the goal of one public database is laudable, the responsibility still lies with songwriters and publishers to submit copyright applications and to submit all of their musical works and sound recordings to the MLC… While there is still work to be done, the Music Modernization Act does solve some long-standing issues in the music industry.