Dispute Policies

The MLC’s dispute policies are intended to facilitate the timely and efficient resolution of disputes directly among impacted parties. The MLC established these policies for resolving musical works ownership disputes under the guidance of the Dispute Resolution Committee, as required in the Music Modernization Act of 2018 (MMA).

Ownership Dispute Policy

The Ownership Dispute Policy addresses disputes between or among copyright owners related to ownership claims of musical works (i.e., what we do when there is a disagreement about who owns the copyright to a song). To read the full Ownership Dispute Policy click here.

Also, if you are unable to register a share of a work because another party is already claiming all or part of the same share resulting in a conflict, then you may seek to resolve the conflict through a conflict procedure as outlined in the Ownership Dispute Policy. To give notice to The MLC of a conflict, click here.

Statutory Terminations Policy (suspended)

The Statutory Terminations Policy addresses the process The MLC uses to (i) analyze notices of statutory termination claims received from rightsholders and (ii) determine how to administer royalties for works and shares of works subject to statutory termination claims or disputes (i.e., how we determine who gets the rights and royalties after a publishing deal expires).

NOTE: The MLC has suspended this pending the outcome of the rulemaking proceeding initiated by the U.S. Copyright Office in a pending Open Rulemaking (more information available here).

In the interim, The MLC is holding all royalties for uses of musical works that are subject to statutory termination claims beginning with the royalties for the October 2022 usage period, which would have been initially distributed in January 2023. The MLC continues to accept notices of new statutory termination claims, and The MLC will also distribute blanket mechanical royalties for musical works and shares of works that were subject to a statutory termination claim if one of the following conditions apply:

  1. There is no dispute between the applicable claimants (meaning there is no disagreement about the credibility of the claim and how/to whom the royalties should be distributed);
  2. An agreement is signed by all claimants directing The MLC to pay royalties for the work(s) concerned to one of the parties; or
  3. There is a court order that directs the payment of royalties for the work(s) concerned to one of the parties.

Click here to read the current version of the Statutory Terminations Policy and here to read the original version. To see a comparison of the current Statutory Terminations Policy to the original version click here.

All termination claims must be submitted to The MLC by filling out the Termination Notice Form, found here.