The News: the Music Modernization Act (“MMA”) has passed the Senate and looks like it’s a green light for approval. You can read all about MMA but in brief, the Bill creates a new entity, the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), which will be responsible for managing the flow of revenue from streaming services to songwriters and publishers, i.e. copyright holders. Today, the flow don’t flow so this news is welcome. MusicAnswers has played an important role in getting the Bill’s T’s crossed and I’s dotted as follows:
As a direct result of our efforts, in collaboration with the Content Creators Coalition (c3), we were able to achieve the following improvements for our supporters and all music creators:
1. There will now be a public and open process for choosing the writer members of the Board of Directors of the MLC, supervised by the Copyright Office. Only highly qualified individuals are eligible to serve, and the public (meaning you, the people most directly affected) will have a chance to weigh in on the acceptability of nominated candidates.
2. New audit provisions have been included in the final bill. These require the Collective to hire an independent auditor, who will make a public report on the activities of the MLC. This will provide music creators with a window into the MLC’s activities and the ability to bring any issues to the attention of the auditor.
3. The MLC now has a legal obligation to use its best efforts to identify the true copyright owners of musical works, and the time period for doing so has been increased to help ensure that the correct people—like you—are paid before any distribution of unclaimed royalties is made to publishers and writers who didn’t earn them and don’t deserve them.
That said, the MMA is not a panacea for the music business, and it’s clear that the activities of the MLC will require continual scrutiny and vigilance to ensure that the law fulfills the mission for which it was designed. MusicAnswers and our allies will continue to closely monitor those activities and keep you informed.
Visit MusicAnswers to learn more.