After studying the copyright landscape, the US Copyright Office (USCO) unveiled what it thinks are best practices for the Mechanical Licensing Collective, nearly 160 pages long.
USCO just released “Unclaimed Royalties: Best Practice Recommendations for the Mechanical Licensing Collective,” a list of operational recommendations for the MLC, which has absorbed more than $ 420 million in unpaid royalties from digital service providers (DSPs) in last february.
Before diving into the whole document, it should be recalled a key element of the Music Modernization Act of 2018, specifies that the MLC must “hold the accumulated royalties associated with particular musical works (and parts of works) which remain unmatched for a period of at least 3 years after the date the funds were received. “
Indeed, USCO recommends delaying the launch of this window. USCO says MLC should apply the three-year period from when unmatched usage appears in the claims portal, and not just when funds are received. This, the report says, is in the spirit of thoroughness and thoroughness as opposed to sheer speed. And even then, the report recommends that the decision to distribute unclaimed royalties be tied to specific criteria.
The Recording Academy has long demanded that the MLC keep royalties for as long as possible to match them with the right songwriter, including longer than the legal minimum. USCO agrees with that and is proposing to maintain the first distribution of unclaimed royalties for at least five years, which, as Fairness for Music Creators puts it, is a major victory.
The need for accurate and correct data also aligns with the mission of the Academy, especially that of the Producers and Engineers wing. This symbiosis of values is evident in the frequent citation of the Recording Academy throughout the USCO study.
For example, the report quotes the Academy’s director general of advocacy and public policy, Todd Dupler, as saying: “[I]If you are going to be wrong, you should be wrong by waiting a little too long to give songwriters a chance to find their money instead of doing it a little too early before they do. The Board agrees with commentators and recommends that if the MLC is going to err, it should err on the side of retaining unclaimed royalties longer. “
In its commitment to engage and educate songwriters wherever they are, the Academy has partnered with the MLC for a series of chapter-by-chapter webinars. As such, this development marks only their last confluence between the two entities.
In December 2019, Dupler, along with then Academy Administrator Ivan Barias of the Academy’s Philadelphia Chapter, attended the USCO Kick-off Symposium for the Royalty Study. unclaimed. In August of the following year, the Academy filed official comments for the study. Then, in March 2021, Dupler participated in the Copyright Office virtual roundtable.
The Recording Academy is thrilled to hear that her voice has been heard by the Copyright Office and looks forward to an ongoing relationship with the MLC to carve out a fairer future for music creators.
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