Music Modernization Act Signed Into Law

After passing both the House and Senate in a unanimous vote, the Music Modernization Act (MMA) was signed by President Trump at a ceremony held this morning at the White House. The bill revamps Section 115 of the Copyright Act, updating the music licensing landscape in light of technological advancements in the digital era. The MMA is an amalgamation of three separate pieces of legislation, the main provisions of which are summarized below:

1)      Title I – Music Licensing Modernization – Under Section 115(d)(3), the Register of Copyrights shall designate a Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) which will issue blanket licenses and distribute royalties to songwriters and music publishers for the reproduction of musical works by digital music providers (e.g., permanent downloads, limited downloads, and interactive streaming). The mechanical licensing scheme for physical configurations (e.g., CDs and vinyl records) shall remain on a per-work, song-by-song basis. 

The MLC will establish a publicly available database of songs, which will allow songwriters and publishers to claim their rights; and enable digital music providers to more efficiently identify and pay the relevant copyright owners. 

2)      Title II – The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act (CLASSICS Act) – Put simply, Title II protects the copyright of sound recordings created before 1972.  The federal remedies for copyright infringement of pre-1972 recordings will be available for 95 years after the date of the first publication of the recording, subject to specified additional time periods as set forth in the statute. 

3)      Title III – The Allocation for Music Producers Act (AMP Act) – This Title enables music producers and engineers to be paid royalties directly by SoundExchange for uses of sound recordings on satellite and online radio, via a letter of direction issued by the featured artist on a recording.

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