U.S. Copyright Office Issues Two Interim Rules and One Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Related to the Music Modernization Act
Issue No. 850 - September 16, 2020
Pursuant to the Musical Works Modernization Act, Title I of the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA), the Copyright Office has issued two interim rules and one notice of proposed rulemaking.
The MMA directs the Office to adopt a number of regulations to govern the new blanket licensing regime, including regulations regarding notices of license, notices of nonblanket activity, usage reports and adjustments, information to be included in the public musical works database, database usability, and interoperability and usage restrictions.
The interim rules are being issued after soliciting multiple rounds of public comments through a single notification of inquiry, two notices of proposed rulemaking (one for each interim rule), and engaging in numerous ex parte communications with commenters. The notice of proposed rulemaking is being issued after soliciting multiple rounds of public comments through two notifications of inquiry and engaging in numerous ex parte communications with commenters. The Office is now issuing:
- An interim rule regarding notices of license, data collection efforts, reports of usage and payment by digital music providers and related records of use, notices of nonblanket activity and reports of usage by significant nonblanket licensees, and data collection efforts by musical work copyright owners. The interim rule is available here.
- An interim rule regarding the obligations of the mechanical licensing collective (MLC) to report and distribute royalties paid by digital music providers under the blanket license to make and distribute digital phonorecord deliveries of musical works to musical work copyright owners. The rule does not address the distribution of unmatched royalties after the prescribed holding period, which the Copyright Office will separately address, including through an ongoing policy study. The interim rule is available here.
- A notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the categories of information to be included in the public musical works database, the usability, interoperability, and usage restrictions of the database, and proposed regulations in connection with the Office’s general regulatory authority related to ensuring appropriate transparency of the mechanical licensing collective itself. The notice of proposed rulemaking is available here. Written comments must be received no later than October 19, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. eastern time.
In light of the MMA’s statutory deadlines, the Office does not anticipate extending the deadline for public comments for the notice of proposed rulemaking.