Latest Press Updates

July 5, 2019: U.S. Copyright Office Designates Mechanical Licensing Collective, Inc. as the Mechanical Licensing Collective and Digital Licensee Coordinator, Inc. as the Digital Licensee Coordinator under the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act

On Monday, July 8, 2019, the Copyright Office is designating the Mechanical Licensing Collective, Inc. as the mechanical licensing collective (MLC), and Digital Licensee Coordinator, Inc. as the designated licensee coordinator (DLC) under the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA), Public Law No: 115-264. The Office is honored to help implement this historic legislation, which will benefit the music marketplace, including songwriters, publishers, artists, record labels, digital services, libraries, and the public. These designations are an important step in implementing the MMA.

The MMA, in part, eliminates the song-by-song compulsory mechanical license in section 115 (which covered the reproduction and distribution of musical works embodied in digital phonorecord deliveries) with a blanket license. The new blanket license will allow digital music providers to reproduce and distribute musical works as digital phonorecord deliveries, including permanent downloads, limited downloads, and interactive streams.

The Office is responsible for designating the MLC to administer the new blanket compulsory licensing system, including by collecting and distributing royalties from digital music providers, establishing a musical works database, and overseeing a process for copyright owners to claim ownership of musical works (and shares of musical works).

The MMA also authorizes the Office to designate an entity as the DLC, which will represent digital music services in the administration of the license.

To make these selections, the Office conducted an extensive public inquiry soliciting proposals from entities seeking to be designated as the MLC or DLC, as well as input from interested members of the public. In response, the Office received over 600 comments from stakeholders throughout the music industry, including numerous copyright owners who provided endorsements for one or more of the entities seeking designation. Based on the record and statutory selection criteria, the Office is designating Mechanical Licensing Collective, Inc. as the MLC, and Digital Licensee Coordinator, Inc. as the DLC.

The Office is pleased to complete this step of MMA implementation. “The MMA is the most significant piece of copyright legislation in decades,” said Register of Copyrights, Karyn A. Temple. “Music plays an important role in creating our common culture and history. This law will help ensure musical work owners are paid when their work is used. Designating the mechanical licensing collective and the digital licensee coordinator will help make that happen. We look forward to working with the entire music community to further implement and conduct outreach on this historic law.”

The blanket license will be available on January 1, 2021. Before then, the Office will continue to work on implementing the MMA. The Office will conduct additional rulemakings on the requirements for notices of license and non-blanket activity, and access and interoperability of the MLC database, among others.

Additionally, the Office will engage in public outreach and education to help songwriters navigate the new system, and will conduct a study on unclaimed royalties.

See our website on designation of the MLC and DLC, and our general MMA webpage, for more detailed information and FAQs. Our Federal Register Notice provides further detail including on how the Office made the designation.

May 23, 2019: Regarding Further Questions About Certain Bitcoin Registrations

The Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office practices provides that an applicant may request expedited consideration of an application by applying for “special handling” pursuant to Sections 207 and 623 of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices.

Special handling is offered as an optional service for an additional fee of $800. Under special handling procedures, the Office “will make every attempt to examine the application or the document within five working days thereafter.”

The Copyright Office’s records indicate that special handling was requested in both registration Nos. TXu002136996 (text) and TX0008708058 (computer file) issued to Craig Steven Wright on April 11 and April 13, 2019, and that the Office did accordingly expedite processing of the applications.

May 22, 2019: Questions about Certain Bitcoin Registrations

As a general rule, when the Copyright Office receives an application for registration, the claimant certifies as to the truth of the statements made in the submitted materials. The Copyright Office does not investigate the truth of any statement made.

A registration represents a claim to an interest in a work protected by copyright law, not a determination of the truth of the claims therein. It is possible for multiple, adverse claims to be registered at the Copyright Office. The Copyright Office does not have an opposition procedure for copyright registrations, such as the procedures available at the Patent and Trademark Office for patents and trademark registrations. Disputes over the claims in a registration may be heard before federal courts, including disputes over authorship of a work. Someone who intentionally includes false information in an application may be subject to criminal penalties.

The examination process is primarily focused on determining whether a deposited work is eligible for protection under the Copyright Act and whether the application satisfies the requirements of registration. The Copyright Office will correspond with the claimant to clear up any obvious inconsistencies. The Copyright Office may similarly correspond with a claimant if a deposited work seems to include portions a well-known work whose author is known.

In a case in which a work is registered under a pseudonym, the Copyright Office does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author.

In the case of the two registrations issued to Mr. Wright, during the examination process, the Office took note of the well-known pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto,” and asked the applicant to confirm that Craig Steven Wright was the author and claimant of the works being registered. Mr. Wright made that confirmation. This correspondence is part of the public registration record.