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Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association

Volume 19, Number 1 (2019)

Mechanical Licensing Before and After the Music Modernization Act

Serona Elton
University of Miami


The Music Modernization Act (MMA), signed into law in the United States on October 11, 2018, made significant changes to digital music licensing. The act was an omnibus act, combining three previously introduced bills. One of those bills, referred to as the Musical Works Modernization Act (MWMA), focused on the mechanical licensing process. This paper explains the foundational elements of mechanical licensing, including what a mechanical license is, how it is obtained, and who is responsible for obtaining one. It also explores the ways that the MWMA has modified the availability of the compulsory license and created a blanket licensing approach. Finally, it presents several open questions which must be addressed before the new Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) can become operational.

Keywords: music copyright, Music Modernization Act (MMA), Musical Works Modernization Act (MWMA), mechanical license, mechanical licensing, Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC)

Elton, Serona. “Mechanical Licensing Before and After the Music Modernization Act.” Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 19, no. 1 (2019): 13-35. https://doi.org/10.25101/19.1

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