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Important update: Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC)

Media Published Tuesday 1 December 2020

The Music Modernization Act (MMA) changed the process of US mechanical licensing and related royalties covering interactive streaming and digital downloads and resulted in the foundation of the Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC).

  • The MLC is open for business 1 January 2021.
  • The MLC only administers mechanical royalties for streaming and downloads; it does not administer other mechanical royalties or performing royalties.
  • The blanket license replaces compulsory licensing on a work-by-work basis; membership is free.
  • Action: we need our publisher members to register all US sub-publishing agreements with us.

Starting in January 2021, The MLC will issue and administer blanket compulsory mechanical licenses to eligible streaming and download services in the United States.

The MLC will collect the royalties due under those licenses from the DSPs and pay songwriters, composers, lyricists, music rights management organisations such as AMCOS, and music publishers. The MLC only administers mechanical royalties for streaming and downloads; it does not administer other mechanical royalties or performing royalties.

The blanket license replaces compulsory licensing on a work-by-work basis through the former Notice of Intent (NOI) procedure under the U.S. Copyright Act, and DSPs will no longer be able to obtain work-by-work compulsory licenses for digital uses. The MLC distributes 100% of the mechanical royalties it collects and membership is free. Operating costs of the MLC are paid for by DSPs.

The MLC is also building a publicly accessible musical works database, as well as a portal that creators and music publishers can use to submit and maintain their musical works data. These tools will help ensure that creators and music publishers are paid properly. The new database will leverage Harry Fox Agency (HFA)data. HFA is helping The MLC onboard rightsholders and their catalogues to The MLC Portal, manage the matching of digital uses to musical works, and distribute mechanical royalties.

The role of AMCOS

APRA AMCOS is participating in the DQI by providing AMCOS repertoire for the US territory to compare against HFA data, and resolving discrepancies.

To ensure the information we provide is correct, we need our publisher members to register all US sub-publishing agreements with us. Without this information - and if you're an AMCOS member for the US - AMCOS will claim on your behalf with the MLC. If your US publisher has also claimed, this may cause registration conflicts and a delay in payment of your royalties.

Timeline

  • Already underway: Data Quality Initiative and portal development
  • 1 Jan 2021 - begin issuing blanket licences
  • Feb 2021 - start receiving DSP usage files
  • Spring 2021 (March to May 2021) - first royalty distribution

Please contact the Publisher Relations and Repertoire team with any questions.