The MLC Logo

US Copyright Office Extends Time to Claim Unidentified Royalties

The United States Copyright Office has announced it is delaying “market share” distribution by the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) of royalties whose music creators and owners have yet to be identified. Owners of unidentified royalties will be able to claim rights to their works in a portal that will made available in coming weeks. The initial two-year period to claim authorship and/or ownership has been extended to five years.

At least $424 million in unmatched royalties are being held by the MLC.

The report reflects input and comments from several CIAM affiliated songwriter and composer organizations, including Music Creators of North America (MCNA) members the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA), Society of Composers & Lyricists (SCL). CIAM was also quoted in the recommendations.

The report states that the MLC should engage in education and outreach to music creators and copyright owners. It specifically indicates that the outreach should be global and be “specifically targeted to include those economically disadvantaged and thus hardest to reach through traditional means.”

Once the five-year period has concluded, the MLC “should apply relevant criteria to determine whether the first distribution should be further deferred” according to the US Copyright Office’s report. The Copyright Office has also endorsed the recommendation to verify the MLC market share distribution by an independent third-party accountant or auditor.

CIAM President Eddie Schwartz stated: “Fair and accurate distribution of the significant pool of money held by the MLC in conjunction with unidentified works is going to be a big challenge. We thank the United States Copyright Office for hearing the voice of creators in the US and around the world, and allowing a much more realistic time frame to get this right.”