Transition Period Cumulative Reporting and Transfer of Royalties to the Mechanical Licensing Collective
Pursuant to the Musical Works Modernization Act, title I of the Music Modernization Act (MMA), the U.S. Copyright Office is proposing to amend its regulations pertaining to cumulative statements of account required to be submitted by digital music providers to the mechanical licensing collective, for such providers to qualify for the statutory limitation on liability for unlicensed uses of musical works prior to the license availability date.
The MMA includes a limitation on liability for digital music providers engaging in covered activities (e.g., permanent downloads, limited downloads, or interactive streams) prior to January 1, 2021, subject to certain conditions. Qualifying digital music providers must engage in good faith, commercially reasonable efforts to locate, identify, and pay musical work copyright owners for covered uses of their works and must accrue and hold royalties for unmatched uses of musical works. If a musical work copyright owner remains unidentified as of January 1, 2021, the digital music provider must transfer all accrued royalties to the mechanical licensing collective along with a cumulative statement of account. The mechanical licensing collective can use information contained in those cumulative statements of account to engage in additional matching efforts to identify and locate musical work copyright owners entitled to royalties for uses of their works.
The Office previously made a technical implementation of the MMA to conform its regulations to account for new statutory requirements, including for cumulative statements of account. As part of its ongoing efforts to implement the MMA, the Office provided another opportunity for the public to comment on these regulations. Following consideration of these comments and separate comments related to monthly reporting that will be required of digital music providers, the Office now proposes to update the cumulative statement of account requirements to with respect to the information, format, and delivery of these statements submitted to the mechanical licensing collective.
The Office invites public comments on the proposed rule. Written comments must be received no later than August 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. eastern time.