Best Practices for Unmatched Royalties

25 Jun

MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

The Copyright Office Music Licensing Study Roundtables have brought up a couple of nagging issues regarding connecting royalty payments with the songwriters or artists who are entitled to payment.

The first comes up with services that rely on the Section 115 compulsory license for songs.  The statute requires the digital service that uses the song to send a notice in advance of using the song.  The notice informs the songwriter that the service intends to rely on the compulsory license.  There are some procedural safeguards built into this notice process, but common sense will tell you that if you’re going to send the notice, the service has to know who the songwriter is and probably how to reach them.

This means that there should be a very limited category of unknown songwriters whose music is used without being notified.  It also assumes that the service does not use the music without…

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