Music Modernization Act Blanket License Implementation Regulations

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 issued a notice of inquiry seeking public comment regarding implementation regulations for the new blanket section 115 “mechanical” license for making and distributing digital phonorecords of musical works, which will become available in 2021. The MMA specifically directs the Copyright 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 mechanical licensing collective’s database, database usability, interoperability, and usage restrictions, and the handling of confidential information. The statute also vests the Office with general authority to adopt such regulations as may be necessary or appropriate to effectuate this new blanket licensing structure.

After the Office reviews the comments received in response to this notice of inquiry, the Office plans to publish multiple notices of proposed rulemaking, each focusing on one or more of the regulatory categories discussed in the notice. These subsequent notices will be phased as appropriate to permit sufficient time to comment further on these issues.

Initial written comments to the notice of inquiry were due November 8, 2019 and written reply comments were due by 5:00 p.m. eastern time on December 20, 2019.