Input Requested: Music Modernization Act
Open Music is requesting feedback from its community on the Music Modernization Act (MMA), which was recently introduced to the United States House and Senate. Input will inform many of the conversations we are having with trade organizations, government representatives, and the industry in general.
A brief (but not comprehensive) summary is outlined below. We strongly encourage everyone to conduct their own research and reading on the bill, as the Act is multifaceted, and there are diverse opinions within the music community.
The Music Modernization Act:
- Establishes a new blanket license for mechanicals related to interactive streaming and downloading services. This is a similar model to terrestrial or digital radio. It would create a streamlined process for obtaining licenses and eliminate complexity.
- Establishes a new central licensing entity (Mechanical License Collective). This entity would issue blanket licenses, collect and distribute all money to all publishers and all writers. Would be similar to the work of a PRO.
- To collect payments, all writers and publishers would need to sign up with this new central entity (MLC). Registering with the MLC would be optional, however any unregistered publisher or writer would not receive payments.
- Unclaimed royalties would get distributed by market share after 3 years. If money is not claimed after 3 years, the pool of royalties would be distributed by market share to those registered with the MLC.
- The MLC would be solely responsible for tracking all copyright owners, matching and distributing payments. Oversight of the MLC would be by a board of 10 publishers and 4 songwriters chosen by the publishers (other additions are considered). Registrants would have some audit rights.
- Changes the process by which royalties are determined. Publishers and songwriters expect that this would lead to increased royalty rates which are now determined by the Copyright Royalty Board.