Dear MusicAnswers Supporter,
By now you’ve probably heard that the Music Modernization Act (“MMA”) has passed the Senate and is poised to become law, once re-approved by the House and signed by the President. MusicAnswers is proud to have played a strong and positive behind-the-scenes role in shaping this legislation to the benefit of all music creators.
As our statements over the past year have made clear, we had some serious concerns about the MMA, including the selection process for the Board of Directors of the new Music Licensing Collective ("MLC"), the lack of audit provisions, and the establishment of what could be the world's largest black box of unclaimed royalties.
Due to these reservations we declined to join the premature chorus of ardent MMA supporters, preferring instead to withhold our support in order to work directly with legislators and their staffs to refine and improve the language of the bill. As a direct result of our efforts, in collaboration with the Content Creators Coalition (c3), we were able to achieve the following improvements for our supporters and all music creators:
1. There will now be a public and open process for choosing the writer members of the Board of Directors of the MLC, supervised by the Copyright Office. Only highly qualified individuals are eligible to serve, and the public (meaning you, the people most directly affected) will have a chance to weigh in on the acceptability of nominated candidates.
2. New audit provisions have been included in the final bill. These require the Collective to hire an independent auditor, who will make a public report on the activities of the MLC. This will provide music creators with a window into the MLC’s activities and the ability to bring any issues to the attention of the auditor.
3. The MLC now has a legal obligation to use its best efforts to identify the true copyright owners of musical works, and the time period for doing so has been increased to help ensure that the correct people—like you—are paid before any distribution of unclaimed royalties is made to publishers and writers who didn't earn them and don't deserve them.
That said, the MMA is not a panacea for the music business, and it's clear that the activities of the MLC will require continual scrutiny and vigilance to ensure that the law fulfills the mission for which it was designed. MusicAnswers and our allies will continue to closely monitor those activities and keep you informed.
Your support of MusicAnswers gave us the ability to accomplish many of our goals and we are deeply appreciative of your confidence and trust. Thank you for your continued participation in our efforts to protect the rights of all music creators.
The MusicAnswers Team