Friday, January 8, 2021

So Much MMA and MLC Jargon!

When reading in the Federal Register the United States' recent interim ruling regarding the public musical works database and transparency of the mechanical licensing collective, I realized that it was so packed with jargon that it would be impossible for most people to comprehend.

Therefore, below is a mini-glossary of many terms one needs to understand in order to make sense of the new interim rule. If I missed one that you wish us to add, please request it in the comments below.

  • A2IM - The American Association of Independent Music (“A2IM”) is the U.S. trade organization of independent music labels.
  • API – An application programming interface, which enables the sharing of data between different software applications.
  • ARM - The Alliance for Recorded Music (“ARM”) is a nonprofit coalition of the RIAA and A2IM, which collectively represent the labels that own and/or distribute most of the sound recordings commercially produced and distributed in the United States.
  • ASCAP - American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (“ASCAP”) is one of the two largest PROs in the United States.
  • BIEM - An international organization of mechanical rights CMOs
  • BMI - Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”) is one of the two largest PROs in the United States.
  • CISAC - The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (“CISAC”) is an international network of authors’ societies.
  • CMO – A collective management organization
  • CWR – Common Works Registration (“CWR”) is a format used by publishers to provide musical works data to performing and mechanical rights organizations
  • DDEX – An organization with an internationally recognized standard for information in messages exchanged between DMPs and the MLC
  • DLC – In the entertainment industry this term ordinarily refers to “downloadable content,” but in the context of the MMA, it specifically means the licensee coordinator (“DLC”) designated by the Copyright Office to represent MLC licensees in proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Judges and the Office, to serve as a non-voting member of the MLC, and to carry out other functions.
  • DMP – A digital music provider
  • DQI – As used by the MLC, the Data Quality Initiative (“DQI”) is a way for rightsholders to compare their many musical works repertoire records to The MLC’s database and identify discrepancies that need to be resolved for both datasets to be accurate.
  • DPID – The DDEX Party Identifier is a unique code assigned by DDEX to each entity that sends or receives DDEX messages. The sender and recipient of a DDEX message are each identified via their respective DPIDs.
  • ERN – DDEX’s electronic release notification standard to enable record companies to inform DMPs about product releases
  • Ex parte communications - An ex parte communication is an oral or written communication made without proper notice to all parties and not on the public record, from an interested person outside the agency to a member of the agency, an administrative law judge, or an employee involved in the decision-making process.
  • Federal Register - The Federal Register is a daily Federal Government publication that provides a uniform system for publishing Presidential documents, all proposed and final regulations, notices of meetings, and other official documents issued by Federal departments and agencies.
  • FMC – In the music industry, this refers to the Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a US-based non-profit founded by musicians, artist advocates, technologists and legal experts to futher education, research and advocacy for musicians.
  • GEMA – A CMO based in Germany
  • Interim rule - When an agency finds that it has good cause to issue a final rule without first publishing a proposed rule, it often characterizes the rule as an “interim final rule,” or “interim rule.” This type of rule becomes effective immediately upon publication.
  • IPI - Interested Parties Information (“IPI”)is a unique code assigned worldwide to each stakeholder of a musical work by CISAC. Such IPIs identify interested parties such as authors, composers, adaptors, administrators, arrangers, publishers, subpublishers, associated performers, and translators.
  • ISNI - International Standard Name Identifier (“ISNI”) is a standardized unique code permanently assigned to a “contributor” to and distributor of creative works by an ISNI agency. Such ISNIs identify researchers, inventors, writers, artists, visual creators, performers, producers, publishers, aggregators, and others.
  • ISRC - The International Standard Recording Code (“ISRC”) is a somewhat standardized unique code permanently assigned to a recording by its first owner. Such ISRCs identify recordings across different exploitations.
  • ISWC - The International Standard Musical Work Code (“ISWC”) is a somewhat standardized unique code permanently assigned to a musical work by a local registration agency when a work is first registered. Such ISWCs identify songs or version thereof across different exploitations.
  • LabelName – DDEX metadata field to show the name of the record label for the relevant product release
  • LAD – January 1, 2021, the license availability date of the MMA’s first blanket licensing regime.
  • Library of Congress - The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • MAC – The Music Artists Coalition (MAC) is a digital rights advocacy organization for musical artists.
  • Marginal Cost – The cost for the supplier to produce one more unit of a good or service.
  • Metadata – Information about information or accompanying files
  • MIC – An American coalition of associations whose members use and perform music over airwaves, through the internet and in retailers, theaters, hotels, restaurants, and bars.
  • MLC – In the music industry, this refers to a mechanical licensing collective (“MLC”) established by the MMA (defined below) to administer the blanket license, receive notices and reports from digital music providers, create and maintain a publicly accessible database containing information relating to musical works, collect and distribute royalties, and identify musical works and their owners for payment. The U.S. Copyright Office (defined below) designated Mechanical Licensing Collective, Inc. as such MLC.
  • MMA – In the music industry, this refers to the United States’ Musical Works Modernization Act, title I of the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act, H.R. 1551. The law establishes a new blanket compulsory license that will be administered by a mechanical licensing collective, which will make available a public musical works database as part of its statutory duties.
  • NOI – Usually in the music industry, NOI refers to “notice of intent” to use a copyright. However, in other instances, including the recent Interim Rule that inspired this post, it refers to a “notification of inquiry” from the U.S. Copyright Office, which is basically a notice of The Office’s quest for information and/or commentary from stakeholders.
  • NPRM – A notice of proposed rulemaking or NPRM is the official document that announces and explains the agency’s plan to address a problem or accomplish a goal. All proposed rules must be published in the Federal Register to notify the public and to give them an opportunity to submit comments.  The proposed rule and the public comments received on it form the basis of the final rule.
  • The Office – In the context of the MMA, this refers to Copyright Office.
  • PII - Personally identifiable information
  • PLine – DDEX metadata field to indicate the year of first
  • release of an audio-only sound recording followed by the name of the entity that owns the phonographic copyright thereto.
  • PRO – In the music industry, this refers to a copyright performance rights organization or society, which licenses rights to publicly perform musical works.
  • Public Musical Works Database – Under the MMA, The MLC must establish and maintain a free-of-charge public database of musical work ownership information that also identifies the sound recordings in which the musical works are embodied, a function expected to provide transparency across the music industry.
  • Recording Academy – A U.S.-based society of music professionals including performers, songwriters, producers, and engineers.
  • Register of Copyrights - The Register of Copyrights is the Director of the U.S. Copyright Office and a recognized leader and lawyer within the U.S. government. By statute, the Register works under the general direction of the Librarian of Congress and carries out a variety of legal and policy functions that are enumerated throughout Title 17.
  • RIAA - The Recording Industry Association of America (“RIAA”) is the U.S. trade organization of major music labels.
  • U.S. Copyright Office - The Copyright Office administers the national copyright system and provides advice on copyright law to congress, federal agencies, the courts and the public.
  • SCL - Society of Composers & Lyricists (“SCL”) seeks to advance the interests of composers and lyricists working in the visual arts (e.g., film, TV, video games).
  • SFTP – Secure file transfer protocol
  • SGA - Songwriters Guild of America (and its predecessor-in-interest the Songwriters Protective Association (“SPA”)) have represented the rights of songwriters since 1931.
  • SNBL – A DMP that is a significant non-MMA blanket licensee because it obtained one or more voluntary, or direct, licenses from copyright owners and is therefore subject to earnings and usage reporting obligations which are separate from those under the MMA.
  • SoundExchange – The agent designated by the Librarian of Congress to administer sound recording performance rights in the United States, the organization collects and distributes royalties on behalf of recording artists and master rights owners.
  • SRCO – A sound recording copyright owner.
  • Statute – a law
  • UPC – A Universal Product Code is a unique code assigned to physical products in the United States by the GS1 global standards organization, which is headquartered in Belgium. Such UPCs convey data when scanned by retailers and marketplaces.