[Editor Charlie sez: Remember how the MLC was supposed to bring transparency to the vast black box? Remember how we were skeptical? Here’s an excerpt from the important joint comment by the Songwriters Guild and the Society of Composers & Lyricists to the Copyright Office about how to address the previously secret deals between digital music services and publishers (called the “Negotiated Agreements”. Read the full comment here.. The robbery in plain sight may have already begun.]
With potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in songwriter and composer royalties at stake now and in the future, and in light of the profound lack of transparency surrounding these issues, we believe that the following questions should be openly addressed, answered and acted upon by the USCO as expeditiously as possible:
(i) What do these individual, Negotiated Agreements actually state?
(ii) What efforts (global and US) were undertaken by the DSPs and/or the music publishers to identify the true owners of the musical compositions that were the source of the unclaimed/unmatched royalties purportedly being dealt with in the Negotiated Agreements?
(iii) Were the sums received by music publishers under these Negotiated Agreements (whether purportedly associated with unclaimed/unmatched royalties or not) ever shared with music creators, and if so, how? Put another way, what efforts were made to determine how music creators should share in these revenues? and;
(iv) How do the provisions of the MMA (such as those that require mandatory accrual and turnover by the DMPs to the MLC of ALL unclaimed/unmatched royalties so that they may be researched for matching –and failing that effort– distributed according to the statutory provisions that protect music creator rights) apply to these royalties and Negotiated Agreements.