The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) was designated by the U.S. Copyright Office in 2019 to carry out the vision of the Music Modernization Act (MMA), which was passed unanimously by Congress in 2018. Thanks to the work of songwriters, artists, publishers, producers, distributors and other stakeholders involved in the creation and distribution of music as well the Members of Congress who supported this legislation, the creation of The MLC has revolutionized the way rightsholders receive their mechanical royalties. Now, The MLC is responsible for the administration of the blanket license — collecting mechanical royalties from DSPs and distributing them to the correct rightsholders.

The U.S. Copyright Office authors regulations governing the MLC’s statutory operations and reviews The MLC’s policies and procedures to ensure they align with copyright law and support songwriters and The MLC’s mission. Both entities collaborate to promote education that helps songwriters and other copyright owners understand the new blanket license and how to collect their mechanical royalties.

Thanks in part to this collaboration, The MLC has reached many milestones since beginning operations in 2021, including paying out over $1 billion in royalties to rightsholders.

The MMA directed the head of the U.S. Copyright Office, the Register of Copyrights, to designate a nonprofit collective governed by a board of publishers and songwriters to administer the statute’s new blanket compulsory licensing system for digital music providers that became available on January 1, 2021. The Register designated The MLC as the collective on July 8, 2019.

To make its selection, the Copyright Office conducted an extensive public inquiry in which it solicited proposals from entities seeking to be designated as the MLC, as well as comments from interested members of the public. In response, the Copyright Office received over 600 comments from stakeholders throughout the music industry, including numerous copyright owners who provided endorsements for one or more of the entities seeking designation. Based on this record and the statutory selection criteria, the Register designated The MLC.

The Copyright Office followed a similar process to designate a digital licensee coordinator or “DLC.” The DLC is a nonprofit that, among other things, represents digital music providers’ (DMPs) interests in certain proceedings before the Copyright Office or Copyright Royalty Judges. A DLC representative is also a nonvoting member of The MLC’s board.

Among other duties, The MLC is responsible for receiving usage reports from digital music providers, collecting and distributing royalties, building a public musical works database and administering a process by which copyright owners can claim ownership of musical works (and shares of such works).

Yes! Registering your works with the U.S. Copyright Office and registering them with The MLC are different processes with different legal consequences. Even though you’ve registered your musical works with us, you should also register all your works with the Copyright Office. Although copyright protection exists from the moment a work is created, copyright registration is recommended for several reasons. Registration is necessary if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation. Finally, registration creates a public record of the works you own, which may yield several other statutory advantages.

Read more about registering your music with the Copyright Office here:

Royalty rates and terms are determined by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which is separate from the U.S. Copyright Office. Statutory mechanical royalty rates and terms are set through “rate setting proceedings” that occur every five years. While The MLC is prohibited by law from taking part in those proceedings, representatives of copyright owners, DMPs, and others do participate.

You can sign up for updates from the U.S. Copyright Office and CRB here.

Anyone can reach out to the Copyright Office online at: