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The DeclarationOfSoundRecordingRightsClaimMessages of the MLC standard can be used by record companies to send claims for sound recordings and music videos to music licensing companies (MLC). The same message can also be used by an MLC to “forward” such rights claims to another MLC.

This document proposes an approach for MLC 1.4 to update claims. The same approach is proposed to be used with older versions of the MLC standard.

What can be updated?

The DeclarationOfSoundRecordingRightsClaimMessage can express claims by means of communicating 1-n RightsController composites. Each of these composites contains, besides information essential for controllers of musical work rights that are of little interest to an MLC, information about (i) the company that controls the rights, (ii) the period of rights delegation, (iii) the types of use for which rights are delegated, and (iv) the territory or territories of rights delegation.

As a consequence, a claim can be updated in the following way:

  • A record company or MLC can increase the claim in terms of territories, or use types, or period;
  • A record company or MLC can retract a claim completely (i.e. for all previously claimed territories, use types and times), if a previous claim was made in error; or
  • A record company or MLC can reduce a claim for some previously claimed territories and or use types, during a specific period or from a specific point in time.

Updating Claims

Any increase and retraction can be seen as an update which are communicated by simply sending the “claim picture” as known by the message sender – whether that is a record company or an MLC – at the moment of sending the claim or claim update. Such updates can combine claim increases with reductions with respect to the same sound recording in a single message.
Below are a number of examples that show how to increase and reduce a claim.

Claim Increases

Claim increases can affect three aspects: the territory, the use types, and the period for the claim. However, all three aspects can be communicated in the same way.
Assume a record company has made a claim for a sound recording for Austria and Germany for the time period 2010-2018 which has to be extended to (i) Liechtenstein, (ii) include the years 2019-2025 for Austria, Germany and Liechtenstein and (iii) include Switzerland for the years 2001-2010.

The initial RightsController would look like this:

<RightsController>
  […]
  <DelegatedUsageRights>
    <UseType>…</UseType>
    <PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
      <StartDate>2010-01-01</StartDate>
      <EndDate>2018-12-31</EndDate>
    </PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
    <TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>DE</TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>
    <TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>AT</TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>
  </DelegatedUsageRights>
</RightsController>


The RightsController in the second message, i.e. the message that increases the claim, would look like shown below. This new claim completely replaces and overwrites the previously communicated claim.

<RightsController>
  […]
  <DelegatedUsageRights>
    <UseType>…</UseType>
    <PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
      <StartDate>2010-01-01</StartDate>
      <EndDate>2025-12-31</EndDate>
    </PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
    <TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>DE</TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>
    <TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>AT</TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>
    <TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>LI</TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>
  </DelegatedUsageRights>

  <DelegatedUsageRights>
    <UseType>Use</UseType>
    <PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
      <StartDate>2001-01-01</StartDate>
      <EndDate>2010-12-31</EndDate>
    </PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
    <TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>CH</TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>
  </DelegatedUsageRights>

</RightsController>

Claim Reductions

A reduction of a claim will need to be sent if a record company loses the right to a sound recording or music video from a specific point in time onwards. A typical example for this case is when the record company’s rights ownership has expired or will expire because of, for example, a transfer of a catalogue to a different record company or when a license expires.

If one assumes a record company that has made a claim for a sound recording for Liechtenstein starting in 2010 (with no end date) one could also see that the record company may need to change this claim to end in 2020. The two RightsController composites for this, before and after, would be:

<RightsController>
  […]
  <DelegatedUsageRights>
    <UseType>…</UseType>
    <PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
      <StartDate>2010-01-01</StartDate>
      </PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
    <TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>LI</TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>
  </DelegatedUsageRights>

</RightsController>

and

 
<RightsController>
  […]
  <DelegatedUsageRights>
    <UseType>…</UseType>
    <PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
      <StartDate>2010-01-01</StartDate>
      <EndDate>2019-12-31</EndDate>
    </PeriodOfRightsDelegation>
    <TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>LI</TerritoryOfRightsDelegation>
  </DelegatedUsageRights>

</RightsController>


Companies shall not retract all rights (as discussed below) and then make a new, “clean” claim as this two-message approach (i) makes the processing more complex for the recipient and (ii) the sender cannot be sure that the recipient will process the retraction before the new claim – which might lead to an accidental complete loss of claim.

It should be noted that, even if a record company does not hold the rights in a sound recording at a specific point in time, it can still make an entirely valid claim to an MLC for the rights that they held in the past. Many MLCs hold revenues for prior periods of exploitation (sometimes referred to as “open years”), which can be claimed by a record company even if they no longer hold rights in a sound recording.

Combinations of Claim Increases and Claim Reductions

As indicated above, a claim increase as well as a claim reduction can be characterised as being “statements of truths”, i.e. the latest message always contains the complete picture of the claim situation (as known at the time of sending that message). As a consequence, combined increases and reductions of claims do not differ structurally from the individual cases.

This includes cases where a record company that has erroneously claimed rights for, say, Luxembourg (which now need to be retracted) wishes to now make a claim for San Marino; this new “complete and current view of ownership” would be communicated in a single DeclarationOfSoundRecordingRightsClaimMessage.

Claim Retractions

A retraction of a claim may need to be sent when a record company (or MLC) has previously, and erroneously, made a claim, where in fact there is no claim on that Resource, and never has been. The retraction of such an erroneous claim should be communicated with a RevokeSoundRecordingRightsClaimMessage by sending the identifier for the sound recording or music video for which the false claim had been sent earlier.
Please note that this approach cannot be used when a valid claim is to be reduced or increased.

Status Updates

Recipients of DeclarationOfSoundRecordingRightsClaimMessages and RevokeSoundRecordingRightsClaimMessages should reply to each message received with an appropriate RightsClaimStatusUpdateMessage that communicates the claim situation.

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