On December 27, 2020, the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act, was signed into law. The Act introduces a new $15 billion grant program through which the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide aid to struggling live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, or live performing arts organization operators, relevant museum operators, motion picture theatres, and talent representative/agents. This program offers a critical lifeline from the Federal government for the nation’s performing arts venues, movie theatres and museums. More information can be found here:
Summary for self-administered composers (without a publisher)
The MMA is now effective. If you are a songwriter, you need to get your songs into the now effective national database. It is the database that it intended to act as the U.S. universal database and for copyright mechanical licensing purposes.
Here is a quick to do list if you self-administer your compositions. If you have a publisher, you should contact it to see if they are actively registering your songs in the MLC database.
- Watch video here: https://vimeo.com/487019593. This is a good overview of music business and copyright law and How the MLC works.
- All Songwriters should join the MLC. Link here: https://www.themlc.com/membership
- Register your compositions and/or review the MLC database for accuracy.
- Also, make sure you have registered all of your sound recordings with SoundExchange here: soundexchange.com. If you are registered with a company such as TuneCore, they may have already registered your master recordings. Check with all services you may be associated with such as TuneCore, The Orchard, etc.
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) is a nonprofit organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office pursuant to the historic Music Modernization Act of 2018. Starting in January 2021, The MLC will administer blanket mechanical licenses to eligible streaming and download services (digital service providers or DSPs) in the United States. The MLC will then collect the royalties due under those licenses from the DSPs and pay self-administered songwriters, composers, lyricists and music publishers.
Two (2) new bills have been introduced that affect protection and compensation regarding sound recordings. A sound recording includes CDs, vinyl, mp3 and digital formats.
- Fair Play Fair Pay Act (HR 1836), was re-introduced in the House in March, 2017. Most people are surprised to learn that a radio station does is not required to pay the record label or the artist/band when it plays sound recordings. Only the songwriter gets paid. This Fair Play bill is intended to create a terrestrial performance royalty for sound recordings. Radio stations and broadcasters are opposed to the Bill as it would cost them additional money to play “records” arguing that artists and labels receive fair treatment based on the free promotion when the song is broadcast and resulting purchase of albums, merchandise and concert tickets.
- The Classics Act (HR 3301) (Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act), would provide federal copyright protection for sound recordings made prior to 1972. Any recordings made prior to 1972 only enjoyed state by state copyright protection if a state offered it by statute. Very few states did.
These bills are not new. They typically fail. I’ll keep you updated.