On October 11, 2018, the Music Modernization Act (“MMA”) became the law in the United States.

As previously featured in the September 26, 2018, Lowe & Associates’ article: “Music Industry Peace Treaty Known As The “Music Modernization Act” Approved By Both House and Senate,” this piece of copyright legislation will make major changes to how streaming music services will pay royalties.

This law puts in place a new quasi-governmental organization called the Mechanical Licensing Collective-which will be paid by digital music providers (such as Spotify, Sirius and Pandora)- which will create and operate a public database containing information about the songwriters, artists, and producers- the first time the latter has ever been mentioned in a bill of this sort- which information will be used to pay them. This bill also specifies the [minimal] rates songwriters, artists, and producers will be paid.

The MMA will also require digital music providers to begin paying for “pre-1972 recordings,” songs that are not currently covered by copyright law, and it will create a centralized “Mechanical Licensing Collective” to collect royalties and then distribute them to whomever is owed money; as long as digital services pay what they are required to pay to the Mechanical Licensing Collective, they will receive a blanket license that allows them to use any song and immunizes them from infringement lawsuits.

Tech companies see the MMA as their key to avoid costly litigation over royalties and pre-1972 records; entertainment companies (and artists, songwriters and producers) see it as a way to secure more reliable payment, and also scored a number of other small victories (e.g., payments for pre-1972 sound recordings).

* Lowe & Associates (“The Firm”) is a boutique entertainment and business litigation firm located in Beverly Hills, California. The Firm has extensive experience handling cases involving entertainment law, having provided top quality legal services to its clients since 1991. The Firm is recognized in multiple publications for its many achievements and high ethical standards, including Martindale-Hubbell and Super Lawyers.

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