Expanding The Mechanical Licensing Collective: A Comprehensive Blockchain Solution to Royalty Data
The inefficient structure of the music industry denies creatives the royalties they are owed. A comprehensive global database would contribute significantly to solving this, but previous efforts to create such a system have failed due to the lack of transparency. However, certain qualities of blockchain technology readily ease these concerns. The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), which is already mandated to create such a database of music rights data, is well suited for this task. If the MLC adopted blockchain technology for its database, it would help bring the fair administration of music royalties up to speed with technological developments in the music industry.
Recent technological developments have resulted in musicians losing out on their due mechanical royalties. One major contributing factor is the plethora of “middlemen” in the music industry (predominantly music publishers and record labels). The long chain of communication allows ample opportunities for data to go missing and, thus, for royalty payments to slip through the cracks. This poor structure involves “many layers of money has to go through before it reaches the artist or the songwriter”[i] which makes the “flow of the music data supply chain…complex.”[ii] The resulting inefficiencies mean that “[l]icensees expend significant effort attempting to identify particular sound recordings and the musical works they embody, as well as tracking down their copyright owners.”[iii] For licensors, “the lack of reliable data means that royalty payments may be delayed, misdirected, or never made.”[iv] This results in a “major pain point for creatives in the music industry” because “they are the first to put in any of the work and the last ever to see any profit.”[v] Creators are not the only ones impacted—potential exploiters are also harmed. Those who seek to use creatives’ work need to determine whether the work is still protected by copyright and, if it is, obtain a license from the owner.[vi] If this proves to be too difficult for a user, the creative also loses out on an opportunity to profit from her work.
This issue has recently gained notoriety, especially with the skyrocketing popularity of music streaming, managing the logistics of which “has always been a daunting task.”[vii] Digital Service Providers (DSPs) “were overwhelmed” because “they were dealing with multi-millions of songs, and billions of lines of data,” but “they had no idea who owned a lot of these songs, much less where to reach them.” [viii] Perhaps the main reason for this is “simply that no central database exists to keep track of information about music.”[ix] There is “no verified global registry of music creatives and their works,”[x] which leads to “errors or gaps in the system, that, in turn, affect the owners’ legal rights as well as the distribution of royalty payments.”[xi]
Data management is further complicated because copyright ownership is often fragmented, particularly in the music industry.[xii] Music generally involves separate copyrights for the musical work and the sound recording.[xiii] Each copyright has divisible rights,[xiv] each of which “can be owned by more than one owner.”[xv] Keeping track of all the pieces of the pie frequently proves to be a fool’s errand.
Moreover, the metadata “is fragmented among a large number of territorial organizations” who each have respective “databases that don’t sync with each other,”[xvi] which compounds the problem. Because the music industry has “adopted technology in various forms along the way,” it feels like “a complete mess, a rusty, overstretched, tired machine.”[xvii] This, along with a general lack of transparency[xviii] in the music industry, makes the music industry’s treatment of mechanical royalties untrustworthy. It is possible that “nothing short of a wholesale reinvention will ever lead to real change,”[xix] but in order to create “a more moral way to approach the music industry,”[xx] first, “we need to know exactly what’s going on.”[xxi]
It has been suggested, increasingly often in the last few years, that “blockchain technology has the potential to get the music industry’s messy house in order.”[xxii] One way to clean up and straighten the music industry’s mechanical royalty data would be via “a decentralized, open-source global platform, owned and controlled by no single entity,”[xxiii] the widespread implementation of which would “provide content creators with valuable information regarding the use and sales of their musical works.”[xxiv] Such a “would contain accurate, real-time, global data encompassing credits and rights ownership” and “open to and accessible by anyone.”[xxv] This structure would produce “a great deal of transparency,”[xxvi] and potentially, “[m]usic creatives could build upon such a registry to directly upload new works and metadata via blockchain-verified profiles.”[xxvii] In this way, the music industry could also better “record who is using a work, so that a fair remuneration can be calculated.”[xxviii]
This database would implement smart contracts, which “would recognize the source of the payment…and then instantly split and redirect royalties to all the addresses entitled to payments from the service for their song.”[xxix] This technology would eliminate the middlemen,[xxx] simultaneously reducing the inefficiencies of mechanical royalty payments and ensuring that music creatives receive their due royalties—more quickly and accurately. Smart contracts could also facilitate licenses for potential users of the music.[xxxi]
Naturally, the eliminated middlemen will be strongly opposed to the industry moving in this direction.[xxxii] After all, “the parties who benefit the most from lack of transparency in the music industry are the labels, publishers, and streaming services,” and “the parties who benefit most from the lack of transparency are the ones who will resist anything that ends the lack [of] transparency.”[xxxiii] Before the Music Modernization Act (MMA), discussed below, these organizations kept the money if they could not properly distribute mechanical royalties.[xxxiv] There is “little to no incentive” for these organizations to “adopt…any technology that would force them to make less advantageous deals, or render more accurate reporting that would negatively impact their bottom line.”[xxxv] Therefore, “getting several self-interested organizations to cooperate in creating a separate, powerful organization” seems impossible.[xxxvi] It could be practically complex, then, to obtain the necessary data from these organizations. [xxxvii]
Another reason to be pessimistic about such a novel music data platform is that previous attempts at establishing a database like this have fallen flat[xxxviii]—”the historical record so far is not encouraging.”[xxxix] The principal reasons behind those failures in creating centralized registries are “the sheer complexity of gathering all that data in one place and keeping it up to date, the lack of financial incentives, and issues of power and control over the data by a single entity.”[xl] However, “there remains a fairly wide consensus in the music business that a better system of rights ownership information management is crucial to the developing digital music industry.”[xli] Because of existing distrust in the music industry, though, “the question would be who would have control over the data and who would have been administering the catalog.”[xlii]
Various agencies are exploring leveraging blockchain technology for intellectual property rights management.[xliii] The Open Music Initiative (OMI), founded in 2016,[xliv] is one of the dozens of startups[xlv] attempting to do so in the music industry. OMI has “managed to gather almost every party under the industry-wide sun to explain why blockchain is at least worth exploring and engaging with,”[xlvi] in an attempt to “reinvent, build, and implement a new standardized digital architecture to track, account, and attribute payment for music.”[xlvii] OMI has “created an API that companies can voluntarily build into their systems” to track key data, but OMI is explicitly “not building a database or a specific product.”[xlviii]
The movement toward using blockchain technology within the music industry is undoubtedly encouraging. However, that many independent companies are doing so carries concerning potential for further fragmentation and mixed-up data.[xlix] Moreover, existing errors and missing data cannot be instantly fixed. There will need to be significant time and effort invested in correcting mistakes and filling in the blanks.[l] It would be more efficient if there were one platform to host and manage the music industry’s royalty data.[li]
A key question remains: “who will lead this effort?”[lii] Due to lack of trust, a single entity creating a centralized database for mechanical royalties has been unable to gather enough support and gain traction. Blockchain is “about the key players getting tighter behind a foundation,” and “it will take years and probably some government intervention if we want it to move faster.”[liii] Some have suggested that “[c]reating a useful database may require a push from the government, such as provided in the MMA.”[liv]
Enter the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC).[lv] The MMA established the MLC in 2018[lvi] with the intent of solving “nonpayment of royalties for mechanical rights.”[lvii] In response to the DSPs retaining unmatched royalties,[lviii] independent music publishers had sued for copyright infringement, which motivated the DSPs to pay the appropriate monetary dues.[lix] Since the MMA was passed, with widespread support throughout the music industry,[lx] the MLC, funded by the DSPs, now handles the new compulsory blanket license for streaming services and may collect money from voluntary licenses.[lxi]
In order to do this, the MLC must “set up and maintain a free, publicly available database of all the songs, publishers, and writers,”[lxii] which must contain specified information[lxiii] in order for the MLC to be able to properly track down where the money is supposed to go.[lxiv] If the MLC’s database were to contain “all copyright data,”[lxv] or even just more comprehensive information “on other rights, such as performance and sound recording rights,” and this “becomes the definitive database,” this could “increase licensing efficiency” throughout the music industry.[lxvi]
In addition, the MLC has mechanisms in order to ensure the quality of[lxvii] and verify[lxviii] the data that enters the database,[lxix] including dispute resolution procedures[lxx] to help determine what mechanical rights belong to whom. This is important in order for the data to “be of sufficient quality to be considered authoritative,”[lxxi] but also to avoid the “garbage-in, garbage-out” problem.[lxxii] Once information enters the blockchain, it “can’t be altered or removed,” so it is crucial that the “entities performing the validation need sufficient incentives to do it correctly.”[lxxiii] If the music royalty data is incorrect when it enters the blockchain database, “blockchain could not help to ensure royalty payments are executed any better than the current systems do.”[lxxiv]
The MLC is meant to “ingest [this] data from [music rights organizations] and other authoritative sources to create its master database,”[lxxv] including from PROs,[lxxvi] although it will naturally be more difficult to obtain information from private databases, such as those created by the Harry Fox Agency (HFA).[lxxvii] Additionally, the MLC could expand its database to include information pertaining to more than just mechanical royalties. For instance, it could coordinate with and incorporate information collected by SoundExchange,[lxxviii] which is “a nonprofit entity designated, and regulated, by the government”[lxxix] and is responsible for “collect[ing] and distribut[ing] digital performance royalties on behalf of more than 570,000 music creators.”[lxxx] SoundExchange collects such information for sound recordings as “track titles, record labels, featured artists, play times, and ISRCs,” which information it has already made public.[lxxxi] Indeed, the music industry’s data system “would be greatly ameliorated if all those who needed it had access to authoritative data concerning the ownership of musical works and sound recordings.”[lxxxii]
If the MLC were to handle the most comprehensive blockchain database containing royalty data for the music industry, it would also address the above-listed concerns, including centralization and transparency. A blockchain system, once established by one organization (the MLC), could eventually be decentralized, since “[n]o single entity owns a blockchain, so there is no issue of control or influence”[lxxxiii] and “incorporating blockchain into the newly called for database could allow independent artists to manage and administer their copyrights.”[lxxxiv] Additionally, the MLC must “maintain a publicly accessible online facility with contact information for the collective,”[lxxxv] meaning no information whatsoever would be hidden. The U.S. Copyright Office has even hinted that the MLC should incorporate blockchain technology (without going so far as to say so explicitly).[lxxxvi]
In addition, those from whom the MLC might collect this royalty data might not be as resistant to sharing that data. PROs will not be made entirely obsolete, as they still provide immense value to music creatives by virtue of collective bargaining.[lxxxvii] Additionally, these organizations seem to be gradually moving towards opening their data to the public, even though, as it stands, “[e]very entity treats its data as proprietary and intrinsically valuable” since they “invest heavily in their datasets.”[lxxxviii] For instance, ASCAP and BMI have recently made their rights information publicly accessible on a shared platform, Songview, “in an effort to provide the industry with more clarity around ownership shares.”[lxxxix] Further, these organizations will still be able to profit in the music industry since “[w]idespread adoption of Blockchain platforms within the music industry could prompt a new wave of change, yet remain compatible with contemporary models of digital music consumption and distribution.”[xc] All it requires is for them “to have faith that they will make more money by doing the right thing—which would lead to fair remuneration, transparency, and a multitude of new business opportunities for artists.”[xci]
In conclusion, the MLC could be the test case for implementing blockchain technology to maintain a comprehensive database of music royalty rights, with the potential to lead to or inspire a global database. While “one has to wonder about the pace of widespread adoption of this technology,”[xcii] if the MLC were to demonstrate success here, “then hesitant content creators, resistant incumbents, and the critical mass will be obliged to follow.”[xciii] The music industry acknowledges that “metadata needs to be standardized…to the extent possible.” The MLC “is in a position to be the standard-bearer and definitive source in this effort” and it “should look to marshal industry-wide support in laying further groundwork for global adoption.”[xciv] If the MLC leads the charge in implementing a blockchain system for music rights management, it could be a driving force to change how the music industry manages royalty data.
Edited by Tavishi Nidadhavolu
Picture by Adrian Korte
[i] Ava Roche & Samuel Smith, Breakdown: Music Streaming Monetization Flow, Music Bus. J. (Sept. 2019), http://www.thembj.org/2019/09/breakdown-music-streaming-monetization-flow/.
[ii] U.S. Copyright Off., Unclaimed Royalties: Best Practice Recommendations for the Mechanical Licensing Collective 16 (2021) [hereinafter Unclaimed Royalties Report] (“Data is constantly generated and updated by numerous parties, can change hands frequently, and can be fed through different streams to different entities, and the data for musical works and sound recordings may flow separately and may not be linked to each other.”).
[iii] U.S. Copyright Off., Copyright and the Music Marketplace: A Report of the Register of Copyrights 124, 125 (2015) [hereinafter Music Marketplace Report].
[v] Imogen Heap, Blockchain Could Help Musicians Make Money Again, Harv. Bus. Rev. (June 5, 2017), https://hbr.org/2017/06/blockchain-could-help-musicians-make-money-again.
[vi] Sebastian Pech, Copyright Unchained: How Blockchain Technology Can Change the Administration and Distribution of Copyright Protected Works, 18 Nw. J. Tech. & Intell. Prop. 1, 3–5 (2020) (“The identification and localization of the current right holder is time- and resource-intensive and leads to high transaction costs.”).
[vii] John Lahr, A Fair Music Report, Music Bus. J. (Oct. 2015), http://www.thembj.org/2015/10/lifting-the-veil-a-fair-music-report/.
[viii] Donald S. Passman, All You Need to Know About the Music Business 239–40 (10th ed. 2019) (“It’s simple enough to find the major publishers, but they don’t control all the songs. In fact, even on songs where the majors have an interest, they sometimes don’t have all the rights (because some of the multiple owners of the songs aren’t major publishers, or because the major only controls certain territories of the world, etc.). And even if the DSPs could find the owners, they weren’t set up to handle tens of thousands of licenses from obscure publishers around the world.”).
[ix] D.A. Wallach, Bitcoin for Rockstars: How Cryptocurrency Can Revolutionize Data and Payments in the Music Industry, Wired (Dec. 10, 2014, 12:00 AM), https://www.wired.com/2014/12/bitcoin-for-rockstars/.
[x] Heap, supra note v.
[xi] Jaclyn Wishnia, Blockchain Technology: The Blueprint for Rebuilding the Music Industry?, 37 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 229, 235 (2019).
[xii] See Pech, supra note vi, at 6–7; see also, e.g., Illustration of Existing Licensing Framework in Music Marketplace Report, supra note iii, at app’x D; Illustration of Royalty Streams Related to the Digital Distribution of Music in The Digital Music Royalties Landscape, The MLC, https://www.themlc.com/digital-music-royalties-landscape (last visited Oct. 12, 2022).
[xiii] See U.S. Copyright Off., Circular 56A: Copyright Registration of Musical Compositions and Sound Recordings (2021), https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ56a.pdf.
[xiv] 17 USC § 106; see also Pech, supra note vi, at 6.
[xv] Pech, supra note vi, at 6.
[xvi] Wallach, supra note ix.
[xvii] George Howard, Imogen Heap’s Mycelia: An Artist’s Approach for a Fair Trade Music Business, Inspired by Blockchain, Forbes (July 17, 2015, 3:04 PM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgehoward/2015/07/17/imogen-heaps-mycelia-an-artists-approach-for-a-fair-trade-music-business-inspired-by-blockchain/?sh=63861d914969.
[xviii] David Byrne, Open the Music Industry’s Black Box, NY Times (July 31, 2015), https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/opinion/sunday/open-the-music-industrys-black-box.html.
[xix] Howard, supra note xvii.
[xx] George Howard, ‘Bitcoin for Rock Stars’ a Year Later: An Update from D.A. Wallach on Blockchain and the Arts Part 1, Forbes (Sept. 25, 2015, 2:00 PM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgehoward/2015/09/25/bitcoin-for-rock-stars-a-year-later-an-update-from-d-a-wallach-on-blockchain-and-the-arts-part-1/?sh=162c14292706.
[xxi] Byrne, supra note xviii.
[xxii] Heap, supra note v.
[xxiii] Wallach, supra note ix.
[xxiv] Wishnia, supra note xi, at 179.
[xxv] Wallach, supra note ix (“This would make it the universal, authoritative reservoir for these types of information.”). It could potentially also “serve as an instantaneous, frictionless payments routing infrastructure for all music usage fees and royalties.” Id.
[xxvi] George Howard, The Bitcoin Blockchain Just Might Save the Music Industry…If Only We Could Understand It, Forbes (May 17, 2015, 10:35 AM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgehoward/2015/05/17/the-bitcoin-blockchain-just-might-save-the-music-industry-if-only-we-could-understand-it/?sh=40c0823c2b01 (“With increased transparency comes increased speed and desire for deals/transactions.”).
[xxvii] Heap, supra note v.
[xxviii] World Intell. Prop. Off., Blockchain Technologies and IP Ecosystems: A WIPO White Paper 40 (2022), https://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/cws/en/pdf/blockchain-for-ip-ecosystem-whitepaper.pdf.
[xxix] Wallach, supra note ix.
[xxx] See Chris Marple, The Times They Are A-Chaingin’: How Music’s Mechanical Licensing System May Have Finally Moved into the 21st Century, 26 Richmond J. L. & Tech. 1, 33 (2020); Arya Taghdiri, How Blockchain Technology Can Revolutionize the Music Industry, 10 Harv. J. Sports & Ent. L. 173, 179 (2019) (“smart contracts completely corrode the traditional relationship between content creators and intermediaries.”).
[xxxi] Pech, supra note vi, at 26 (“[A] copyright system that requires one to obtain a license in advance inevitably leads to transaction costs. A blockchain-based copyright register can significantly reduce these costs.”). See generally id. at 36–42. The facilitation of licensing would also aid the MLC’s administration of its blanket license. See supra page 8.
[xxxii] See Wishnia, supra note xi, at 246, 246 n.143 (“For one, it will cost millions to implement a comprehensive blockchain system. Secondly, it will extend unnecessary negotiations about who will control and input data to the blockchain. Lastly, there will be a bidding war over relinquishing music legacy catalogs since most of the money stems from them and the biggest rights holders will not be willing to share it.”).
[xxxiii] George Howard, Bitcoin Can’t Save the Music Industry Because the Music Industry Will Resist Transparency, Forbes (May 22, 2015, 9:18 AM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgehoward/2015/05/22/bitcoin-cant-save-the-music-industry-because-the-music-industry-will-resist-transparency/?sh=3f232bf76325.
[xxxiv] Passman, supra note viii, at 240.
[xxxv] Howard, supra note xxxiii.
[xxxvi] Wallach, supra note ix.
[xxxvii] Unclaimed Royalties Report, supra note ii, at 5 (“Music metadata has more often been seen as a competitive advantage for the party that controls the database, rather than as a resource for building an industry on.”).
[xxxviii] Pech, supra note vi, at 9 (for example, “the International Music Joint Venture by a group of collection societies, the International Music Registry by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the Global Repertoire Database by a group of music industry entities (including collection societies, PROs, and tech companies).”).
[xxxix] Alexander Stewart, The Hint of Blockchain, Music Bus. J. (Dec. 2016), http://www.thembj.org/2016/12/the-hint-of-blockchain/ (“If successful, Blockchain would supersede the need for a GRD type solution.”).
[xl] Bill Rosenblatt, The Future of Blockchain Technology in the Music Industry, 35 Ent. & Sports Law. 12, 16 (2019).
[xli] Klementina Milosic, GRD’s Failure, Music Bus. J. (Aug. 2015), http://www.thembj.org/2015/08/grds-failure/.
[xliii] For example, the European Union Intellectual Property Office has begun using a blockchain-based registry to manage trademark and design data. See EUIPO Connects to TMview and DesignView Through Blockchain, EUIPO (Apr. 27, 2021), https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/web/guest/-/euipo-connects-to-tmview-and-designview-through-blockchain?inheritRedirect=true&redirect=https%3A%2F%2Feuipo.europa.eu%2Fohimportal%2Fen%2Fweb%2Fguest%2Fsearch%3Fp_p_id%3Dcom_liferay_portal_search_web_portlet_SearchPortlet%26p_p_lifecycle%3D0%26p_p_state%3Dnormal%26p_p_mode%3Dview%26_com_liferay_portal_search_web_portlet_SearchPortlet_keywords%3D8662923.
[xliv] Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Blockchain and the Music Industry: Turning Pennies into Dollars, Open Music Initiative (Jan. 19, 2018), https://open-music.org/blog/2018/1/8/blockchain-and-the-music-industry-turning-pennies-into-dollars.
[xlv] See Thomas M. Lenard & Lawrence J. White, The Same Old Song, 41 Regulation 30, 33 (2018) (“[A] number of nongovernmental groups are already working on this problem.”).
[xlvi] Heap, supra note v.
[xlvii] John Lahr, Berklee’s Open Music Initiative, Music Bus. J. (Aug. 2016), http://www.thembj.org/2016/08/berklees-open-music-initiative/.
[xlviii] About, Open Music Initiative, https://open-music.org/about/ (last visited Oct. 12, 2022).
[xlix] Wishnia, supra note xi, at 250 (“The… startups recognize the importance of a transparent, comprehensive database to keep track of owners’ rights and facilitate payments. Hence, they are recommending some form of blockchain as a panacea. The formation of these companies, however, is aiding in reproducing the issues that they were initially trying to solve: fractured data.”).
[l] Matthew Hawn, Why Blockchain Won’t Save the Music Industry (At Least, Not Yet), Digit. Music News (Dec. 9, 2016), https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/12/09/blockchain-bitcoin-save-music-industry/ (“This doesn’t go away when you move the infrastructure to the blockchain; if anything, it gets worse and will cost millions to fix. This is why most blockchain initiatives start fresh and don’t look back. However, most of the money to be made is in that catalogue of legacy music.”).
[li] See Rosenblatt, supra note xl, at 16 (“It would be much easier for all parties to communicate with a single entity through a standard interface rather than many different entities with their interfaces and data requirements; it would facilitate new service providers that increase efficiency; accuracy, and accountability even further; and it would increase rights holders’ visibility into royalties that they are owed.”).
[lii] Blockchain: Recording the Music Industry, PwC at 3 (2018), https://www.pwc.co.uk/entertainment-media/publications/blockchain-recording-music-industry.pdf.
[liii] Hawn, supra note l (“The solution we’re seeking is…the privately run but nonprofit organization that manages” a blockchain database.).
[liv] Lenard & White, supra note xlv (“a number of nongovernmental groups are already working on this problem.”); see also Pech, supra note vi, at 19.
[lv] The MLC as the administrator of such a copyright database, fits the suggestion of “entrust[ing] a publicly regulated private registrar” to do the job. Pech, supra note vi, at 19 (describing problems with exclusively private or public administrators).
[lvi] 17 U.S.C. § 115(d)(3)(C)(i) (2021); 37 C.F.R. § 210.23(a) (2021).
[lvii] Lenard & White, supra note xlv, at 33.
[lviii] See supra page 2.
[lix] Passman, supra note viii, at 240.
[lx] Id. (“[W]e had one of those rare times when both sides were aligned in their goals, and this kum-ba-ya moment gave birth to the MMA.”).
[lxi] Id. at 217, 240, 241.
[lxii] Id. at 241 (“This will truly be a valuable asset.”); 17 USC § 115(d)(3)(E)(i).
[lxiii] See 37 CFR § 210.23.
[lxiv] See Jeff Brabec & Todd Brabec, Music Rates and Royalties in Today’s and Tomorrow’s World, 37 Ent. & Sports Law. 6, 7 (2021) (“Another very important aspect of [the MLC’s] mandate is to build a portal so that composition information can be viewed and corrected in the event of errors which will assist in the matching of unmatched works to the correct royalty recipients.”).
[lxv] Taghdiri, supra note xxx, at 179.
[lxvi] Lenard & White, supra note xlv, at 34.
[lxvii] See Unclaimed Royalties Report, supra note ii, at 54.
[lxviii] See id. at 50.
[lxix] See id. at 57 (“[T]o help maintain the quality of its data, it has implemented its Data Quality Initiative (“DQI”) to ‘assist copyright owners and administrators in comparing schedules of their works against the MLC’s works data” by providing “reports that highlight discrepancies between the two sets of data so that they can address those discrepancies and improve the accuracy of data related to their works.’”).
[lxx] See 17 USC § 115(d)(3)(K).
[lxxi] Unclaimed Royalties Report, supra note ii, at 60.
[lxxii] See Pech, supra note vi, at 21 (“Information stored on a blockchain is highly tamper-resistant, but blockchain technology itself is not a magic cure for poor quality data.”).
[lxxiii] Rosenblatt, supra note xl, at 12.
[lxxiv] David Idokogi, Decentralizing Creativity: A Tenable Case for Blockchain Adoption in the Entertainment Industry, 47 Rutgers Comput. & Tech. L.J. 274, 298 (2021).
[lxxv] Music Marketplace Report, supra note iii, at 193.
[lxxvi] Id. at 19–20
[lxxvii] See id. at 21.
[lxxviii] Id. at 193.
[lxxix] Id. at 192.
[lxxx] About SoundExchange, SoundExchange, https://www.soundexchange.com/who-we-are/#about-us (Oct. 12, 2022).
[lxxxi] Music Marketplace Report, supra note iii, at 193.
[lxxxii] Id. at 190.
[lxxxiii] Rosenblatt, supra note xl, at 16.
[lxxxiv] Idokogi, supra note lxxiv, at 298.
[lxxxv] Unclaimed Royalties Report, supra note ii, at 6; see 37 CFR § 210.32.
[lxxxvi] Id.at 62 (“The Office recommends that the MLC should work to ensure that its data is in sync with the data held and submitted by the authoritative sources of the data. More specifically, the Office recommends that the MLC employ automation where possible, such as by setting up data exchanges and using APIs with copyright owners’ internal databases to assist with real-time updates and the detection of discrepancies, especially with larger copyright owners where the data is particularly voluminous. The Office further recommends that the MLC have appropriate mechanisms in place to accept new and updated (including corrected) information from those copyright owners who are not equipped for APIs and other automated exchanges….”).
[lxxxvii] See Howard, supra note xx; Midem, How Blockchain Can Change the Music Industry – Midem 2016, YouTube (June 5, 2016), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHJe7d-oZtU.
[lxxxviii] Wallach, supra note ix (“But ultimately, all of this information is just information. Who owns which rights are simply facts. There is no good reason that all these facts cannot live in public, accessible by anyone anywhere.”); see Pech, supra note vi, at 6–7.
[lxxxix] ASCAP and BMI Launch SONGVIEW, a Comprehensive Data Resource for Music Users, ASCAP (Dec. 21, 2020), https://www.ascap.com/press/2020/12/12-21-Songview. GMR and SESAC have also established similar public platforms; see Search Catalog, Global Music Rights, https://globalmusicrights.com/search (last visited Oct. 12, 2022); Repertory, SESAC, https://www.sesac.com/repertory/search (last visited Oct. 12, 2022).
[xc] Stewart, supra note xxxix (“For music labels and licensing bodies, there is an opportunity to be on the leading edge of change by working with artists and distributors to establish new standards and ways of working that reach right across the industry.”).
[xci] Heap, supra note v.
[xcii] George Howard, The Key to Widespread Artist Adoption of Blockchain May Be Via an Esoteric Copyright Law, FORBES (Apr. 18, 2017, 4:34 PM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgehoward/2017/04/18/the-key-to-widespread-artist-adoption-of-blockchain-may-be-via-an-esoteric-coptyright-law/?sh=70bf06c0cb58; see also Passman, supra note viii, at 140–41 (“The Passman Theory of Technology Cycles”).
[xciii] Taghdiri, supra note xxx, at 194.
[xciv] Music Marketplace Report, supra note iii, at 322.