Frequently Asked Questions

Historical Unmatched: Impact of Prior Settlements

Please email disputequestions@themlc.com with any questions or if you think you should have received a notice from The MLC.

If you received a Legal Notice from The MLC, then either Spotify or Google/YouTube (as applicable) identified you as a party to a license, settlement, or other agreement containing a release of royalty claims. You may submit a Notice of Dispute citing that you do not believe you are a party to such an agreement as the basis for your dispute.

The regulation outlining this entire process is found in 37 CFR 210.10(c)(5). You can also reference the regulation along with supplementary information as published in the Federal Register here.

Please email disputequestions@themlc.com if you have any specific questions. 

Please also note, however, that The MLC is only coordinating communications between copyright owners and Spotify and/or Google/YouTube. The MLC will not engage in or resolve any disputes and cannot provide legal advice. 

YouTube: Mlc-ops@google.com

Spotify: mlc.notices@spotify.com

We encourage you to seek counsel from a qualified attorney to address questions specific to your circumstances. 
 

If a proper Notice of Dispute is provided to The MLC, The MLC will take the following actions (as required by the USCO regulation):

  • The MLC will provide the copy of the Notice of Dispute it receives to the relevant DSP; and
  • The MLC will:
  1. Collect the amount of royalties in dispute from the DSP, and 
  2. Hold the amount until the dispute is resolved in an interest-bearing account. The amount will include the interest that would have accrued on such amount if The MLC had been holding it when the accrued historical unmatched royalties were transferred in February 2021. (See this press release for more information). The MLC will also include an explanation of how the amount was determined.

The MLC’s process of collecting and administering mechanical royalties is generally described here. 

You have been identified as a party to one or more licenses, releases, or other agreements containing a release of royalty claims with Spotify (formally Spotify USA Inc.) and/or YouTube (formally Google,Inc./YouTube). Relying on the voluntary license or agreement, these Digital Service Providers (“DSP(s)”) estimated a reduction of the amount of accrued historical unmatched royalties each has transferred to the MLC. 

Please see the press release here to learn more about this transfer of accrued historical unmatched royalties to The MLC. At the time the accrued historical unmatched royalties were transferred to The MLC, the US Copyright Office (USCO) permitted DSPs to make a good faith estimate of the amount of royalties due. 

Under the USCO regulations, The MLC is required to notify copyright owners impacted of their right to dispute a DSP’s reliance on the voluntary license or agreement in making estimated royalty payments for accrued historical unmatched uses to The MLC. 
 

You must: 

  1. Submit a Notice of Dispute to The MLC and 
  2. Engage in dispute resolution measures. For example, you must file a lawsuit, engage in alternative dispute resolution (e.g., mediation, arbitration, etc.) or resolve the dispute with Spotify or Google/YouTube (as the case may be) pursuant to a negotiated settlement or otherwise. 

You must take both actions. Notifying The MLC alone will not be sufficient to claim monies withheld by the DSP or to resolve your dispute with the DSP.

A Notice of Dispute must: 

  1. Describe the basis for the dispute (e.g., the royalties withheld by the DSP are not covered under the voluntary license or private agreement identified and relied on by the DSP, the private agreement is not sufficiently identified, etc.) with as much detail as possible; and 
  2. Specify whether you are disputing the DSP’s reliance on the voluntary license or private agreement with respect to: 
  • potential distributions based on usage ultimately matched to your works; and/or 
  • unmatched accrued royalties that are ultimately distributed based on relative market share. 

     3. Contain a certification by the copyright owner that the dispute is reasonable and made in good faith.

How do I provide Notice of Dispute to The MLC?

There are two ways to provide Notice of Dispute to The MLC. 

  1. Online submission (preferred): If you received an email from The MLC, there is a link to a form that may be completed by a person duly authorized to complete the certification and the information required (noted above).
  2. By Mail: You may provide a written Notice of Dispute with the information required (noted above) and mail it to: 

Mechanical Licensing Collective
Attn: Legal Department
333 11th Ave South
Suite 200
Nashville, TN 37203

If you choose to mail the Notice of Dispute, send by a reputable overnight delivery service (charges prepaid) or certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested.  
 

 

You must provide a Notice of Dispute to The MLC within one year after receiving notice from The MLC. The MLC sent notices on October 5, 2021. Therefore, for most parties, you must both notify The MLC and initiate dispute resolution measures by October 5, 2022.