Daily Journal: Music Modernization Act Gets New Year Update

December 24, 2020

O’Melveny partner David Marroso and associate Daniel Cooper spoke with the Daily Journal about changes to the Music Modernization Act that become effective as of January 1, 2021. The attorneys noted that key provisions of the act, specifically Title I, are set to create a transparent and simplified system for collecting and delivering royalties amid a complicated mix of public performance rights, mechanical rights, rights to a particular recording, and musical composition rights.

As an example, Marroso pointed to I Will Always Love You, the iconic song written by Dolly Parton but famously performed by Whitney Houston and then incorporated into the soundtrack for the film The Bodyguard. “There are so many interrelated copyright interests at issue with that one performance that it’s a sticky wicket,” he said. Cooper added that all the different rights and copyrights at play make it “a pretty messy space.”

“The real source of the problem and a potential source of the solution is going to be a centralized, transparent, open database that links all sound recordings to all underlying copyright holders,” Cooper explained. “If they can actually pull this off, it’ll be great. It’ll work. It’ll not only facilitate payments and transparency, but also be open for everyone to see.”

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