In a recently issued joint statement, the Association of Independent Music Publishers officials, national chair and Los Angeles chapter president Teri Nelson-Carpenter, New York chapter president Alisa Coleman and Nashville chapter president John Ozier said, “The AIMP is happy to support the U.S. Copyright Office’s decision to select the NMPA, SONA, and NSAI submission for governance of the Music Modernization Act’s (MMA) Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC).”
He added, “We have worked closely with these organisations to provide guidance on the MLC’s Board of Directors and various committees, and are glad to see at independent music publishers will have a strong voice in the implementation of the MMA and beyond.”
“With the majority of the 14-member MLC Board consisting of independent publishers and songwriters — including AIMP New York Chapter President Alisa Coleman (ABKCO) as MLC Board Chair, AIMP Nashville Board member Mike Molinar (Big Machine Music), and AIMP members Evelyn Paglinawan (Concord Music), Tim Cohan (peermusic), Bob Bruderman (Kobalt), and Scott Cutler (Pulse Music Group) — as well as all the AIMP members on MLC committees, we are in the best position to stand up for the rights of independent publishers, songwriters, and other rights-holders.”
The US Copyright Office had designated entities to serve as the mechanical licensing collective (MLC) and the digital licensee coordinator (DLC) under the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA).
The MMA directs the Register of Copyrights to designate a nonprofit entity operated by copyright owners as the MLC, which will administer the statute’s new blanket compulsory licensing system for digital music providers beginning on January 1, 2021.
Among other duties, the MLC will be responsible for receiving usage reports from digital music providers, collecting and distributing royalties, and administering a process by which copyright owners can claim ownership of musical works (and shares of such works). The MMA also authorises the Register to designate an entity as the DLC, which will represent digital music services in the administration of the license.
To make these selections, the Office conducted an extensive public inquiry in which it solicited proposals from entities seeking to be designated as the MLC or DLC, as well as comments from interested members of the public. In response, the Office received over 600 comments from stakeholders throughout the music industry, including numerous copyright owners who provided endorsements for one or more of the entities seeking designation.
Based on this record and the statutory selection criteria, the Register has designated Mechanical Licensing Collective, Inc. as the MLC, and Digital Licensee Coordinator, Inc. as the DLC. The US Copyright Office looks forward to working with these entities and other stakeholders as the MMA implementation process continues.
In another matter, the US Copyright Office weighed in completely noting that it took the comments from the Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice (IIPSJ) seriously. It pointed out that the MLC draft by-laws “contain a diversity provision that calls for a biannual report on the diversity of the board, including diversity as to gender/race/ethnicity, income, musical genre, geography and expertise/experience.”
It said it would work with the MLC to help it achieve these goals and said it believes the MLC can play a role in helping to advance these goals within the music industry.
Overall, the US Copyright Office said the submissions suggest that both MLC and AMLC will have the basic administrative and technological capabilities to perform the required functions under the statute, but the former demonstrated a greater capacity to carry out several of these responsibilities.
While the US Copyright Office didn’t choose AMLC, it said its “goals and principles are laudable, and its submission includes a number of ideas that should be given further consideration.”
It added, “the Register expects that the designated MLC will endeavour to equally represent the interests of those who did not endorse it, and that interested sides will continue to come together to make the implementation of this historic new licensing scheme a success, building upon the cooperative spirit that facilitated the MMA’s passage.”
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