Reed Smith Client Alerts

The creation of a new compulsory blanket licensing system for mechanical works, along with a new mechanical licensing collective to administer these licences is set to put an end to years of uncertainties and profoundly transform the music licensing landscape in the US.

Authors: Sophie Goossens Mitchell A. Manger Christine M. Neuharth James D. Tobias

After years of uncertainty, countless lawsuits and amidst a general sense of hope and expectation from the entire American music industry, the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob
Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (“MMA”) has now been signed into U.S. law. What has been heralded by the entire music ecosystem as a well-needed reform overcame some eleventh hour hurdles to sail through the U.S. Congress and be signed into law. This comes on the back of the recent developments in Europe, which also threaten to overhaul the way music rights are used and licensed by digital services.

The Act combines three separate pieces of legislation:

  • The Music Licensing Modernization Act of 2018 which updates several key features of music licensing.
  • The Classics Protection and Access Act, which ensures that artists receive royalties on pre-1972 recordings.
  • The AMP Act (or Allocation for Music Producers Act), which will codify into law, for the first time, a producer’s right to collect royalties from non-interactive digital services.

We will examine the impact of these three texts in a series of articles to be published in the forthcoming weeks. In this alert, we will take a closer look at the central provision of the MMA, namely the new scheme that will replace the current system for licensing the right to reproduce musical works (“Songs”) when a recording embodying the same is exploited online.