As best we can tell from the outside looking in, this chart has the dates for key events in the critical path to launch for the Mechancial Licesing Collective as required by the Music Modernization Act–the “Countdown to Modernity.”
This chart is a work in progress, and if anyone sees anything wrong in it or something that should be clarified or corrected, please let us know. It should be considered a draft, but we hope that it will solidify over the next few weeks.
To our knowlege, no one else has published a chart like this. The main takeaway from this chart should be the clock is ticking and time is going by. Our prediction? Time will become the MLC’s biggest enemy, if that hasn’t already happened in the drafting of the Music Modernization Act. What we don’t see in the MMA is any discussion of what happens if a deadline is blown for whatever reason.
But mark your calendars–we see the first key date as January 7, 2019. That’s 64 days from now and holidays count.
ARTIST RIGHTS WATCH
COUNTDOWN TO MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE LAUNCH
KEY DATES SCHEDULE FROM ENACTMENT DATE (10/11/18)
TO LICENSE AVAILABILITY DATE (1/1/21)
EVENT ACCCOMPLISHED WHO OWNS? TIME EXPIRED BEFORE LAD TIME REMAINS TO LAD REQUEST FILING TO BE MLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline 1/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 90 DAYS 726 days DESIGNATION OF MLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline 7/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 270 days 545 days FORMATION OF MLC NONPROFIT STATUS UNKNOWN MLC 4 weeks 112 weeks and 5 days SUBSTITUTION OF BLANKET LICENSE FOR ALL EXISTING COMPULSORY LICENSES AUTOMATIC 1/1/2021 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 789 days MLC BUDGET STATUS UNKNOWN
(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)
MLC/DLC/CRJ 112 weeks and 5 days INITIATE ASSESSMENT PROCEEDING w/CRJs [MUST COMMENCE NO LATER THAN 7/7/2019]
MLC/DLC/CRJ 271 days 545 days ASSESSMENT RULING [PUBLISHED IN FR NO LATER THAN 7/7/2020] MLC/DLC/CRJ 637 days 179 days APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT RULING 30 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION OF ASSESSMENT RULING MLC/DLC/CRJ/ DCCOA 667 days 149 days MLC BUSINESS PLAN STATUS UNKNOWN
(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)
MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days ANNOUNCED BOARD NOMINEES STATUS UNKNOWN
(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)
MLC 90 DAYS 726 days APPOINTED BOARD STATUS UNKNOWN
(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)
MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days APPOINTED DLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline 7/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 270 days 545 days ENGAGED VENDORS STATUS UNKNOWN
(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)
MLC 90 DAYS 726 days PAID VENDORS STATUS UNKNOWN (ASSUME 7/7/2020 IF NO APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT) MLC 270 days 545 days ANNOUNCEMENT OF DATA STANDARDS STATUS UNKNOWN MLC/DLC REGULATIONS* STATUS UNKNOWN CO COMMENTS AND REPLY COMMENTS ON REGULATIONS STATUS UNKNOWN Songwriters and Publishers EXPLANATION OF OPERATIONS: HOW TO REGISTER WITH MLC AND COST OF REGISTRATION STATUS UNKNOWN
(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)
MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days REGISTRATION START DATE STATUS UNKNOWN
MLC=Mechanical Licensing Collective
DLC=Digital Licensee Coordinator
CRJ=Copyright Royalty Judges
DCCOA=District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals
LAD=License Availability Date
*Topic areas to be updated as announced
Starting next week, we’re going to start keeping track of the path to implementation for the Mechanical Licensing Collective under the Music Modernization Act! If you see any milestones we left out, please leave a comment. We’re thinking of calling it the “Countdown to Modernity”.
Music Creators North America, Inc. (MCNA), a music creator alliance representing a US, Canadian and global coalition of over half a million songwriters and composers from around the world through its affiliates in the International Council for Music Creators (CIAM), applauded the passage today of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) by the US Senate. The Act, if signed into law by the President once a unified version is agreed upon by both houses of the US Congress, will reform and streamline the music licensing process and force digital music distributors to take greater responsibility in ensuring the equitable, proper, and timely payment of royalties to music creators for distribution of their works in the US.
According to the member organizations of MCNA, the benefits of the MMA strongly outweighed its shortcomings, and its passage is a welcome step forward. The Act, however, will require constant vigilance by the music creator community to ensure that all of the intended benefits to composers and songwriters are realized. This includes encouragement of music creators to claim the royalties owed to them, careful monitoring of distributions of so-called “unmatched” royalties, and especially close scrutiny of actions undertaken by the music licensing collective established under the legislation and controlled by a board of directors that has only a minority of music creator members. The members of MCNA have pledged their full energies in support of these and other efforts to safeguard songwriter and composer rights, including keeping a close watch on the process in which the US House of Representatives and Senate versions of the bill are reconciled.
WASHINGTON, DC – September 18, 2018 – The SoundExchange family of music creators today applauded the long-awaited passage of the comprehensive Music Modernization Act by the U.S. Senate. SoundExchange issued the following statement from President and CEO Michael Huppe:
“The future of the music industry got brighter today. Creators of music moved one step closer to getting paid more fairly. And industry forces that fought to maintain an unfair and harmful status quo were rebuffed. Now, SoundExchange’s 170,000-member community has just one word for the House of Representatives: Encore.”
“The Music Modernization Act proves what can happen when constructive industry leaders work together towards a greater good. The SoundExchange community joined a historic coalition of artists, labels, songwriters, music publishers, streaming services, performance rights organizations, producers, engineers and unions. The outcome of this collaboration is a law that sets a new framework to guide the future of the music industry. There are still issues regarding creator fairness that we need to address, but today we celebrate a new era of cooperation and progress across the industry.”
SoundExchange will monitor the progress of the Music Modernization Act. Follow updates on our Twitter handle @SoundExchange.
The Content Creators Coalition (c3) and MusicAnswers released the following statement reacting to the Senate passing the Music Modernization Act:
“The Content Creators Coalition (c3) and MusicAnswers applaud the Senate passage and expected prompt House passage of the Music Modernization Act. The bill is a great step forward towards a fairer music ecosystem that works better for music creators, services, and fans.
“Our organizations have been pleased to join in the efforts of the music creator community in support of this bill.
“We also are gratified that our two organizations, in collaboration and independent of other groups, were able to make meaningful contributions to the final legislation, including comprehensive and publicly available audits of the MMA’s new Mechanical Licensing Collective and ensuring that the Collective uses best practices to find the owners of unclaimed royalties. We appreciate the receptivity of key legislators and their staffs to these fundamental notions of transparency and accountability.
“Going forward, we pledge to work with other committed music creator organizations to ensure that songwriters and composers receive the royalties their work has generated and to see that, despite the lack of equal representation for songwriters on the board of the Collective, unclaimed royalties are distributed to the songwriters who earned them. We thank our many thousands of members and signatories for their support of our efforts as we continue to fight for the rights of music creators.”
The Content Creators Coalition (c3) is an artist-run non-profit advocacy group representing creators in the digital landscape. C3’s work is significant to anyone who creates and makes a living from their creations. c3’s objectives are two-fold: First, economic justice for musicians and music creators in the digital domain. Second, ensuring that the current and future generations of creators retain the rights needed to create and benefit from the use of their work and efforts. C3 has grown into a national organization based on representation, advocacy, and mobilization for sustainable careers in the digital age.
MusicAnswers unites songwriters, composers, performers, and producers in a grassroots campaign to inform, organize, and protect the music community about our rights and revenue streams. It is grounded in the firm belief that, regardless of our roles in creating music, our common interests are far greater than those that divide us. Since its launch in January 2016, nearly 3500 music creators and professionals have signed the MusicAnswers Declaration of Principles, which is posted at musicanswers.org.
by Michael Huppe, President and CEO, SoundExchange
The Music Modernization Act (MMA) now has the support of 76 Senators. As it nears the finish line, SiriusXM is going door-to-door in the Senate in a last-ditch effort to block the MMA, a bill backed by an historic coalition of thousands of music creators, songwriters, producers, labels, publishers and digital music services—all of whom have been working for years to get Congress to reform music licensing laws.
For longtime advocates, it will come as no surprise that SiriusXM is trying to scuttle the MMA at the last minute. This is, after all, precisely what they did 20+ years ago when Congress first enacted legislation giving performers the right to be compensated when digital services use their music. Back then, Sirius stepped in during the final throes of the legislative process to argue that having to pay for music—their primary product—could “disrupt” their nascent business plans. They argued for a special royalty rate–one that effectively forced artists to subsidize their business and gave them a competitive advantage against other companies. That special treatment has gone on for over two decades ago now. We don’t think such a sweetheart deal was justified back then; but it’s indefensible now.
Once separate companies, SiriusXM is now the sole satellite radio company in the U.S. It generates revenue well over $5 billion annually, the huge majority of which comes from its more than 32 million subscribers. To put that into context, U.S. wholesale revenue for the entire record industry was $5.9 billion in 2017. Yes, a single company, SiriusXM, makes nearly as much from subscribers in the United States as all record labels and artists combined make from all sources.
Make no mistake about it: SiriusXM would not have a business without recorded music. And yet, SiriusXM has profited for decades by getting music at a special market distorting rate set under a different standard than all its thousands of internet radio competitors. Specifically, the rates set for internet radio are established under a “willing-buyer/willing seller” standard – another way of saying artists and labels are supposed to be paid a fair market rate for their recordings. When setting satellite radio rates, by contrast, the government can – and has – set rates lower than fair market value based on four amorphous policy factors. The impact is not academic: the lower rate standard has cost creators billions of dollars over the last 20 years.
Multi-billion dollar companies should not be subsidized by musicians – and all competing streaming platforms should play by the same rules.
Seems obvious right? It is, and that’s one of the reasons the Music Modernization Act passed the House of Representatives unanimously (as in 415-0; think on that for minute) and is on the verge of passage in the Senate.
The music community is united around the MMA because it ensures fair treatment for music creators and a level playing field for digital radio services. It is a win-win, and the compromises SiriusXM has proposed are inconsistent with the principles upon which the bill is centered. We look forward to the Senate moving this bill — and with it all of music — forward.
September 17, 2018
Dear Senator Wyden,
Being a musician isn’t easy. We spend months on tour, play late night shows, and spend hours, even days, on end in the recording studio. We sacrifice time with our families and money that could be made in more lucrative, stable jobs. While certainly not an easy decision, we make these sacrifices freely, because this is what we love to do. We don’t ask for special treatment or undue assistance.
All we ask is that you have our back.
The CLASSICS Act, incorporated in the Music Modernization Act, gives elderly artists what they deserve – what they’ve earned. It’s an injustice that just because someone’s career began before 1972, they don’t earn money the same way that other artists do.
Aging artists who recorded music prior to the 1972 cutoff are suffering. They’ve worked decades, making the sacrifices that we all do, only to be robbed when it harms them the most. They’re not asking for a handout, just for the income they’ve earned.
The CLASSICS Act fixes this, eliminating the arbitrary 1972 cutoff. Not only does it make things fairer, it will help older artists in retirement who are struggling without regular income. Millions of seniors in the US live in poverty – we should be working to cut that number, not exacerbating the crisis.
The overall Music Modernization Act would benefit music creators of all ages across the country and provide certainty to digital services. That’s why an unprecedented coalition of songwriters and publishers, record labels and performers, and digital services has joined together to support the bill.
Oregon is home to thousands of musicians of all ages who are counting on you. Support us by supporting the CLASSICS Act as part of the Music Modernization Act.
Amber Sweeney | Bruce Fife | Carrie Brownstein | Corin Tucker
Janet Weiss | Kathy Foster | k.d. lang | Laura Veirs
Maggie Vail | Neko Case | Peter Buck | Scott McCaughey
Sam Coomes | Scott Magee | Ural Thomas | Westin Glass