Designation of Mechanical Licensing Collective and Digital Licensee Coordinator

The Copyright Office is required to periodically review the designations of the mechanical licensing collective and digital licensee coordinator and has issued a notification of inquiry in the Federal Register seeking public comments on this topic. More details are available on the rulemaking’s webpage.

Pursuant to the Musical Works Modernization Act, title I of the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA), the U.S. Copyright Office has designated a mechanical licensing collective (MLC) and a digital licensee coordinator (DLC) to carry out key functions under the statute.

Title I of the MMA modified the existing section 115 “mechanical” license for reproduction and distribution of musical works in phonorecords (which was previously obtained by licensees on a per-work, song-by-song basis) to establish a new blanket license for digital music providers to engage in specific covered activities (namely, permanent downloads, limited downloads, and interactive streaming).

The MMA directs the Register of Copyrights to designate an entity as the MLC to administer the blanket license and distribute collected royalties to songwriters and music publishers. The MLC is tasked with developing and maintaining a comprehensive database of musical works and sound recordings, which will be publicly available. The MMA also allows the Register to designate a DLC, which will represent digital music services in the administration of the license and in the determination of the administrative assessment fee paid by digital music providers for the reasonable costs of establishing and operating the new MLC. Both entities will be subject to a redesignation process commencing in January 2024.

In December 2018, the Office issued a notice of inquiry soliciting proposals from entities seeking to be designated as the MLC or DLC. Following submission of proposals, the Office also received over 600 comments from members of the public regarding these submissions.

Based on the submissions received and the selection criteria provided in the statute, the Register designated the Mechanical Licensing Collective, Inc. as the MLC, and the Digital Licensee Coordinator, Inc. as the DLC, with the Librarian’s approval.

This page provides links to the record materials in this proceeding, including public comments, ex parte materials, and the Federal Register notice setting forth the Register’s analysis and conclusions. Additional information about the MMA is available here.