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Let the Music Play: Copyright Team Secures Rule Change to Keep Online Music Download Stores Operating

March 5, 2021
Digital music services could have shut down their music download stores if not for the regulatory change.

Latham’s digital copyright team convinced the U.S. Copyright Office to adopt a critical rule for services that operate digital download stores. The rule related to reporting requirements imposed under the Music Modernization Act (MMA), which created a new blanket license for certain rights needed by digital music services.

In the weeks leading up to the January 1, 2021 effective date of the paradigm shifting law, the team realized that the reporting regulations that the Copyright Office had previously adopted would have imposed impossible reporting requirements for music downloads. Due to the severity of the requirements, there was a risk that digital music services would shut down their download stores as of January 1. That would have deprived music fans the ability to purchase downloads of their favorite music, and would have deprived copyright owners of nearly $1 billion in annual revenue.

Latham worked with the stakeholders involved and presented a regulatory proposal to the US Copyright Office in early December. After several meetings, the Office adopted a temporary fix on December 28, and sought public comment about Latham’s proposal.

The final rule, adopted on March 4, 2021, completely adopts Latham’s statutory interpretation and regulatory proposal – a great outcome for Latham’s clients and the music industry as a whole.

The Latham team was led by partners Sy Damle and Alli Stillman, with associate Jessie Cammack.