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Competing applications filed with U.S. Copyright Office to head the MLC

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Competing submissions for the Music Modernization Act’s Mechanical Licensing Collective have officially been filed with the U.S. Copyright Office.

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), which represents major publishers like Sony/ATV, Warner/Chappell, and Universal Music Publishing Group, is now looking at a serious competition to lead the MLC, mandated by the recently-passed Music Modernization Act.

The NMPA, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and the Songwriters of North America (SONA) have submitted a plan for creating the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) to the U.S. Copyright Office to become the entity envisioned by the MMA.

 

It’s MLC vs AMLC at the U.S. Copyright Office

The first group, which simply titles itself the ‘MLC,’ is led by the NMPA, major publishers, and a number of larger indie publishers.  It also has a heavy endorsement from non-publishing groups, including the RIAA.

“Our collective is backed by 26 other major music organizations including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and all of the major record labels. The Copyright Alliance and SoundExchange, among many others, have voiced their support and critically, our MLC is endorsed by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), SESAC and Global Music Rights (GMR) — encompassing all of the performance rights organisations,” said Danielle Aguirre, executive vp and general counsel, NMPA.

On the other hand, the American Mechanical Licensing Collective (AMLC) is backed by a consortium of indie publishers, music technologists, and decidedly non-major publishers.

Its proposed plans to run the new MLC were revealed on 22nd March when all applications and comments were made public. The organisation named its board of directors and various committees, along with an early outline of technology solutions for the proposed MLC operation and an estimated budget for nearly $44 million five-year budget.

The AMLC has plans to establish an audit and finance committee, education and outreach committee, a technology and security committee and an international committee. It names some of the members to each of those.

 

The Digital Licensee Coordinator

Also, among the applicants is a single application for a ‘Digital Licensee Coordinator,’ or DLC, which will represent licensees like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music, and other streaming platforms in the mechanical payment process.

This application was filed by the Digital Media Association (DiMA), a trade group focused on digital streaming, media, and tech-related interests.  The DLC plans to focus on issues like the costs of running the MLC. However, DiMA itself has yet to endorse a specific MLC contender.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office timetable, the Thursday night filings start the clock on a 30-day review process, one that invites comments from various industry stakeholders.

 

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