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Mechanical royalties: Footnote to a historic achievement

Our international partner, the International Council of Music Creators (CIAM) has released a summary of the recent achievements regarding the US Copyright Royalty Board and mechanical royalties on physical and downloads. The text is reproduced below:


 

In this, the early May of 2022, songwriters, composers and music publishers have received some very welcome news, news years in the making, that will increase the money paid to music creators for the use of their works in the world’s largest market, the United States.

Many organizations and individuals have stepped forward to claim credit for this important achievement, whether they had anything to do with it – or not. But it’s easy to find out who really did the heavy lifting in achieving this historic increase in mechanical royalty rates, because it’s a matter of public record.

The US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) who oversees the process tells you exactly who deserves credit. You can find it here, in the Library of Congress, Copyright Royalty Board, Determination of Royalty Rates and Terms for Making and Distributing Phonorecords (Phonorecords IV).

Listed among the organizations and individuals are the following:

The Songwriters Guild of America, Society of Composers & Lyricists; and Music Creators North America; along with individuals Rick Carnes and Ashley Irwin, the Alliance for Women Film Composers, Alliance of Latin American Composers & Authors, Asia-Pacific Music Creators Alliance, European Composers and Songwriters Alliance, The Ivors Academy, Music Answers, Pan-African Composers and Songwriters Alliance, Screen Composers Guild of Canada, and Songwriters Association of Canada.

And it’s no accident that the 32% increase, the first since 2006, plus cost of living increases going forward, very closely follows the submissions by the SGA, SCL and MCNA which are quoted throughout the CRB document.

We would be remiss not to mention one other music creator whose efforts were crucial in this victory, George Johnson. George is a tireless defender of our rights, and it was his official status in the CRB proceedings that opened the door for the comments of other colleagues, including those listed above.

It’s important to note that CIAM is not alone in recognizing this important achievement by our partner alliances on behalf of music creators in the US and around the world.

Here’s what one significant music publisher, BMG had to say:

The entire songwriter community owes a huge debt of thanks to those who fought for this increase in the face of the opposition of major record companies and indifference of music publishers. Without their belief and commitment, the RIAA (representing record companies) and the NMPA (representing music publishers) would not have been forced back to the negotiating table. This episode should be a wake-up call for all those in the industry who fail to match fine words about the value of music with a concern for the people who actually create it.”

Read the complete BMG statement here.

(Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash)

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