The MLC is a nonprofit organization specifically created to fulfill the role of the mechanical licensing collective under the 2018 Music Modernization Act (“MMA”). The MLC is the product of collaboration by a broad coalition of songwriters and music publishers and their trade organizations who came together to create an entity that is uniquely situated to fulfill the vision of the MMA and to solve the challenges of mechanical licensing in the digital space.
In July 2019, pursuant to the MMA, the U.S. Register of Copyrights designated The MLC to be the collective that issues and administers blanket mechanical licenses for the use of musical works in digital spaces.
The MLC’s governance structure is set forth in the MMA. It is led by a Board of Directors that is comprised of fourteen individuals: ten must be representatives of music publishers and four must be professional songwriters who retain and license mechanical rights for songs they have written. No two Directors may be affiliated with music publishers under common control or ownership. There are also three nonvoting Directors representing trade organizations for songwriters, music publishers and digital music providers, respectively.
The Board of Directors also receives guidance and support from three Advisory Committees set forth in the MMA. These are:
- The Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee, composed of five songwriters and five representatives of music publishers;
- The Dispute Resolution Committee, composed of five songwriters and five representatives of music publishers; and
- The Operations Advisory Committee, composed of six representatives of music publishers and six representatives of digital music providers
The inaugural members of The MLC’s Board of Directors and Advisory Committees were selected in open, competitive processes by neutral advisory panels of respected members of the industry. Songwriter members were selected by panels comprised exclusively of songwriters, and music publisher members were selected by panels comprised exclusively of individuals from the independent music publishing community. Moving forward, songwriter members will continue to be chosen by songwriters, and publisher members will continue to be chosen by publishers.
The MLC has the support of organizations from every corner of the music industry. This broad support is reflected by the diverse backgrounds and affiliations of the members of The MLC’s Board and Advisory Committees governance.
For more information, The MLC’s bylaws are available here, and its conflicts of interest policy is available here.