Copyright Office Designation of MLC Praised


WASHINGTON, D.C.– The United States Copyright Office (USCO) on Friday designated the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), created by U.S. music publishers and songwriters and backed by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), and the Songwriters of North America (SONA), as the new entity tasked with licensing and administering rights under the Music Modernization Act (MMA).

NMPA President/CEO David Israelite praised the Copyright Office’s decision.

He said, “This has been a long, deliberative process and we are pleased with the result. The Copyright Office set a high bar and the team behind the MLC submission was transparent, thorough and representative of the entire music publishing and songwriting community. We look forward to seeing the benefits of the Music Modernization Act come to fruition. As we now move to the funding phase, it is critical that the digital services commit to supporting the MLC properly and become more transparent, starting with disclosing the amount of unmatched money currently at their companies.”

NSAI President Steve Bogard added, ““American songwriters have looked forward to this advance in music licensing for years. The MLC creates a number of historic gains for songwriters including participation in the governance of a mechanical rights agency on both board and committee levels and being guaranteed an activity-based share of unclaimed funds. We have an opportunity now to work with streaming companies to significantly advance digital mechanical licensing efficiency and transparency.”

SONA Executive Director Michelle Lewis also praised the decision, saying that it intends to work with this MLC “to help educate all songwriters on the importance of accurate registration and to ensure that a state of the art database be built, serving all entitled parties to receive the royalties they have rightfully earned.”

Now that the consensus MLC has been selected, the group will formally begin operations. This will include the negotiation of a budget with the digital streaming services who, by law, must fund the collective. It will also include partnering with a vendor to provide administration and matching services and development of a user portal through which publishers and songwriters will be able to manage rights and royalties.

The MLC plans to fully launch in January 2021.

If a funding agreement cannot be voluntarily determined, the MLC and the digital services will go before the Copyright Royalty Board which will set the MLC’s budget through an assessment proceeding.

The proposal submitted by the industry consensus MLC can be viewed here: