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Music Modernization Act’s Mechanical Licensing Collective Takes Shape

The National Music Publishers’ Association, the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Songwriters of North America today unveiled the board members and endorsements for their Mechanical Licensing Collective submission to the U.S. Copyright Office. Members of the various boards and committees include representatives from most major music publishers and performing-rights organizations, as well as several songwriter/artists who have been outspoken about creators’ rights, including Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker frontman David Lowery, former Letters to Cleo singer Kay Hanley and former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi.

The submission, which will be filed by March 21, creates the collective required by the Music Modernization Act (MMA) to license and administer mechanical rights. Additionally, the groups announced the MLC Board and Committee appointments and launched the MLC website, SongConnect.org, as well as a website for all of the songwriters and artists who support the MLC to officially endorse: SupportTheMLC.com. The MMA was signed into law by President Trump in October, after years of efforts by multiple organizations in the music industry.

The Music Modernization Act (MMA) requires that the MLC is “endorsed by, and enjoys substantial support from, musical work copyright owners that together represent the greatest percentage of the licensor market for uses of such works in covered activities.” According to the announcement, the “overwhelming majority of copyright owners who together represent the majority of musical works in the U.S.” have voiced support for the MLC submission, along with performance rights organizations, record labels and other organizations listed below.

The MLC Board and Committee appointments include:

MLC Board of Directors: Jeff Brabec (BMG), Peter Brodsky (Sony/ATV), Bob Bruderman (Kobalt), Tim Cohan (peermusic), Alisa Coleman (ABKCO), Scott Cutler (Pulse Music Group), Paul Kahn (Warner/Chappell Music), David Kokakis (Universal Music Publishing), Mike Molinar (Big Machine Music), Evelyn Paglinawan (Concord Music), Kara DioGuardi, Oak Felder, Kevin Kadish and Tim Nichols

MLC Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee: Phil Cialdella (Atlas Music Publishing), Patrick Curley (Third Side Music), Michael Eames (PEN Music Group), Frank Liwall (The Royalty Network, Inc.), Kathryn Ostien (TRO Essex Music Group), busbee, Kay Hanley, David Lowery, Dan Navarro and Tom Shapiro

MLC Dispute Resolution Committee: Alison Koerper (Disney Music), Ed Leonard (Daywind), Sean McGraw (Downtown), Debbie Rose (Shapiro Bernstein), Jason Rys (Wixen Music), Aimée Allen, Odie Blackmon, Gary Burr, David Hodges and Jennifer Schott

MLC Operations Advisory Committee: Joe Conyers III (Songtrust), Scott Farrant (Kobalt), Rell Lafargue (Reservoir Media Management), John Reston (Universal Music Publishing), Bill Starke (Sony/ATV) and Michael Lau (Round Hill Music) *remaining digital company seats to be announced

The Board and Committee seats were designated by the MMA and the selections were chosen by two advisory groups.

The publisher advisory group included: Kenny MacPherson (Big Deal), Teri Nelson Carpenter (Reel Muzik Werks), Caroline Bienstock (Bienstock Empire, Inc.), Julie Lipsius (Lipservices), John Ozier (ole) and Matt Pincus

The songwriter advisory panel included: Steve Bogard (NSAI), Dallas Davidson (BMI), Chris DeStefano (NSAI), Bob DiPiero (BMI), Dan Foliart (ASCAP), Adam Gorgoni (SONA), Michelle Lewis (SONA), Paul Williams (ASCAP) and Lynn Gillespie Chater (SGA)

In a statement, NMPA President & CEO David Israelite said, “Our Mechanical Licensing Collective submission provides a comprehensive roadmap to the Copyright Office to establish the first collective of its kind. The MLC will give songwriters the money they deserve and the transparency they’ve lacked for decades. The board and committee members are the best in the business and the vast endorsements come from the many coalition members who were instrumental in the passage of the MMA.”

In a combined statement, the NSAI and SONA said: “Songwriters can go to supportthemlc.com to offer their endorsement of the entity that will oversee licensing of digital mechanical rights for American songwriters. We’ve worked for decades for the benefits the MLC will bring songwriters/composers, including licensing their digital mechanical royalties at no cost since the streaming music companies have agreed to fund the collective. NSAI, SONA and NMPA worked on the Music Modernization Act for years, guided its adoption and believe we are the best group in terms of expertise and experience to undertake the challenge of building a new mechanical licensing entity. The music industry and American songwriters assisted us in ensuring passage of the MMA and we are confident they will agree that the Music Licensing Collective, created by our organizations and NMPA, should be the agency controlling licensing of their copyrights.”

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