Music Licensing Changes via U.S. Copyright Office

The U.S. Copyright Office is supporting a change in the way that music licensing is conducted, as stated in a 245 page report on Thursday. If successful, this will mark most radical reform to music licensing in the last 50 years.

Many of today’s music copyright laws were drafted almost 100 years ago, and have seen little revision or update. Consequently, these laws are seen as antiquated and out of date by many. Maria Pallante, the director of the Copyright Office, seems to share this view, commenting that “from a copyright perspective, we are trying to deliver bits and bytes through a Victrola.”

Unsurprisingly, the proposed overhaul of music licensing has not been unanimously accepted, and is anticipated to ignite controversy among some. If implemented, these proposed revisions will have a huge impact on the world of music licensing.

Highlights of the proposed licensing revisions include:

  • Payment of artist royalties for public performances on terrestrial radio.
  • Federalization of pre-1972 sound recordings. Reconsideration of the 75 year old antitrust decrees for ASCAP and BMI.
  • Allowing publishers and other music rights owners the ability withhold their content from streaming services.
  • Changes in what types of uses are subject to blanket licensing, and what are subject to free market negotiation. More transparency for artists with regard to deals between record labels and publishers with services like Spotify


See the full article from The Hollywood Reporter here.