The Register of Copyrights Begins Periodic Review of the Designation of The MLC and DLC

In accordance with the Music Modernization Act, the Register must review the designation of The MLC and DLC every five years, beginning in 2024.


The Register of Copyrights has begun the periodic review of the designation of the Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) and the Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC). The MLC serves as the statutory collective established under the Music Modernization Act (MMA) of 2018 to administer the blanket compulsory mechanical license available to eligible streaming and download services (DSPs) in the United States. The DLC, also established under the MMA, serves as the representative of DSPs in matters related to the administration of the blanket license. The Register originally designated The MLC and DLC in 2019.

The MMA requires the Register to initiate the periodic review of designation of The MLC and DLC by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. A notice has been published in the Federal Register and will be published every five years in January, beginning this year.

During the initial designation process in 2019, The MLC was the only entity that met all of the criteria established by the MMA to qualify for the designation. This year, in the fourth year of operations, The MLC has distributed nearly $1.7 billion in royalties since the first royalty distribution in April 2021. Since then, The MLC has continued to distribute monthly royalty distributions, all of which have been on time or early.

“We welcome the announcement of the Register of Copyrights commencing the first review of The MLC’s designation as required by the MMA,” says The MLC’s CEO, Kris Ahrend. “We are confident that this review will confirm that The MLC continues to meet all of the criteria set out in the MMA, while affording us the opportunity to highlight the many successes our team and our stakeholders have achieved since launching The MLC’s full operations.”

The Register allows The MLC and DLC to file a submission supporting the ongoing designation of each entity by April 1, 2024. The public can file comments on The MLC’s and DLC’s submissions by May 29, 2024, and can reply to other initial public comments by June 28, 2024. The MLC and DLC will have the ability to file replies to the comments by July 29, 2024.

The Register is authorized to conduct additional proceedings as appropriate. The Register can continue the designation of The MLC or DLC or make a new designation of either entity. However, it cannot change the provisions of the MMA, the structure of governance that is set forth in the MMA, or the blanket license royalty rates or terms. After concluding the proceedings, the Register will publish a decision in the Federal Register together with the reasons for such decision.

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