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

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

March 05, 2021

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.

Notice: We appreciate your interest in Latham & Watkins. If your inquiry relates to a legal matter and you are not already a current client of the firm, please do not transmit any confidential information to us. Before taking on a representation, we must determine whether we are in a position to assist you and agree on the terms and conditions of engagement with you. Until we have completed such steps, we will not be deemed to have a lawyer-client relationship with you, and will have no duty to keep confidential the information we receive from you. Thank you for your understanding.