Author: bradstephensky

Streaming services fail to pay modern royalty rates: What will it take?

By Lauren Degen, 2L Member

Despite the best efforts of lobbyists and music advocacy organizations, music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon are still refusing to pay updated royalty rates to songwriters and publishers for music use on digital streaming platforms. Even the new law set forth in the Music Modernization Act mandating an increased royalty rate determined by the Copyright Royalty Board has not been enough to make music streaming sites pay their fair share of royalties to the songwriters whose creations fuel such platforms. Continued litigation on the matter has many industry professionals asking themselves, “what will it take to get streaming services to pay?” In order to understand the issue, it is necessary to recognize the complexity of the Music Modernization Act and why streaming services continue to actively dispute increased royalty rates.

Passage of the Music Modernization Act (“Act”) has changed the landscape of the music industry in four primary ways. The Act spawned creation of the Mechanical Licensing Collective (“MLC”), changed the legal standard the Copyright Royalty Board (“CRB”) may consider when establishing mechanical royalties for internet streaming, expanded copyright protection to the creators of pre-1972 sound recordings, and led to passage of The Allocation for Music Producers Act. The Act, which became law on Oct. 11, 2018, in part changed the way Copyright Royalty Board judges decide statutory royalty rates, including those for digital streaming.

The history of the Copyright Royalty Board began in 2004 with passage of the Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act (“CRDRA”). The CRDRA established a panel of three judges – the Copyright Royalty Judges – to oversee statutory licensing of copyrighted works. The goal of this newly established panel was to encourage more frequent review of royalty rates pertaining to statutory licensing of music. The law requires one of the three judges to have extensive knowledge in copyright law, one to have a background in economics, and one to have a minimum of five years of judicial or quasi-judicial experience. Collectively, the group has the power to determine royalty rates for usage of copyrighted works in the United States.

Prior to the passage of the Act, Section 115 of the Copyright Act allowed any person seeking a compulsory license to reproduce a song to pay a statutory mechanical license in exchange for the use. The Copyright Royalty Board established this statutory rate by applying a legal standard that does not consider market value of the work. This approach led to extremely low rates being paid out to songwriters and music publishers once streaming took over the music industry. However, the Act changed the legal standard used by the Copyright Royalty Board to determine royalty rates by allowing the judges to consider free-market conditions. This change helped even the playing field for songwriters’ compensation through establishing rates by consideration of the entire music industry ecosystem rather than by historical legal standards.

Despite the positive changes which resulted from the new legal standard used by the Copyright Royalty Board to determine royalty rates, implementation of the initiative has been more difficult. Per the terms of the Act, the updated standards to be used by the Copyright Royalty Board to determine royalty rates first went into effect for the 2018-2022 time period. (84 FR 1918) This new royalty rate, which was set to increase pre-2018 royalty rates from 10.5 percent to 15.1 percent, was determined by the Copyright Royalty Board on Jan. 27, 2018. Four years later, Spotify and other major streaming services are still battling songwriters, the National Music Publishers Association, and other creative advocates in court to dispute this increase. As a result, the streaming services have yet to pay the increased royalty rates to songwriters for the use of their works on such platforms. This is a hotly contested issue in the music industry. Songwriters and artists depend on streaming services for exposure, listener growth, and to reach new audiences, yet they are not being fairly compensated for the creations which streaming services need to fuel their platforms.

In the meantime, the Copyright Royalty Board is beginning to establish the royalty rate for the next five-year period – 2023 to 2027 – despite the fact previously established rates are not yet being paid out. Additionally, Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Pandora filed documents last October with the CRB proposing significantly lower royalty rates for interactive streaming platforms than the 2018 CRB decision sets forth. (Johnson v. Copyright Royalty Bd. (D.C. Cir. 2020)) Enactment of this proposal would set back much of the progress that songwriter advocates have made in recent years. The National Music Publishers Association is proposing that songwriters effectively earn 20 percent of all revenue generated by streaming services. Spotify and Pandora proposed decreasing the rate back to the pre-2018 10.5 percent of total service revenue rate and Amazon proposed a 10.54 percent rate, while Apple and Google proposed no change from the final 2018-2022 rates. The Copyright Royalty Board ultimately holds tremendous power in protecting the future of songwriters in the United States. As advocates wait for the CRB to make its final decision on the appealed 2018-2022 rates, they also optimistically hope for even more favorable streaming rates for the 2023-2027 period.

Works Cited:

Miramax LLC v. Tarantino: NFTs meet copyright and contract law

By Aaron Steinberg, 2L member

In 2020, the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace erupted. NFTs are unique, digital collectibles that are often sold by artists and creators to their fans. Artists and creators can create, or “mint,” NFTs on blockchain-based marketplaces, such as OpenSea. When an NFT is sold, the buyer receives the NFT in her digital wallet. Since the NFT is embedded on an immutable, transparent blockchain, the buyer can seamlessly prove her ownership of the NFT.

Today, NFT sales have surpassed an aggregate of $14 billion. Fans continue to demand NFTs as a-list creators embrace the new technology to develop creative sales campaigns.

In November 2021, the award-winning screenwriter and film director, Quentin Tarantino, dove headfirst into the space by announcing his own Pulp Fiction NFT collection. Each NFT in the collection represents a chapter from Pulp Fiction and includes those scanned pages from the original, handwritten script. While Tarantino fanatics were eager for the opportunity to own an NFT from the collection, Miramax, the studio behind Pulp Fiction, filed a complaint against Tarantino in federal court in the Central District of California. (Miramax, LLC v. Tarantino, (C.D. Cal. 2021)).

Although Tarantino wrote and directed Pulp Fiction, Miramax owns the intellectual property associated with the film. Primarily, Miramax claims that these scanned pages constitute derivative works, and the sale of them infringes upon its copyright because Tarantino’s 1993 contractual agreement does not grant him a license for the sale of NFTs. Additionally, Miramax objected to Tarantino’s use of the Pulp Fiction branding in association with the sale.

While Tarantino granted Miramax extensive rights in Pulp Fiction, the contract defines “Reserved Rights” that were retained by Tarantino, which include the “soundtrack album, music publishing, live performance, print publication (including without limitation screenplay publication, ‘making of’ books, comic books and novelization, in audio and electronic formats as well, as applicable), interactive media, theatrical and television sequel and remake rights, and television series and spinoff rights.” Miramax argues that NFTs, as a one-time sale, do not equate to the publication of the screenplay which Tarantino reserved the right to do in his contract.

However, Tarantino believes that the sale of a unique, scanned screenplay excerpt falls within his “screenplay publication” reserved rights. Since Tarantino is selling a single copy of each NFT in his collection, the question arises whether the selling of a single, unique copy constitutes a “publication.”

The court will look to copyright law’s definition of “publication” in 17 U.S.C. § 101, which defines the term as “the distribution of copies…of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership.” Furthermore, the court will look to industry custom at the time the parties entered into the 1993 agreement.

In the event that the dispute does not settle, this lawsuit could provide interesting insight into a court’s interpretation regarding intellectual property associated with NFT sales. A finding in favor of Tarantino could result in an explosion of other content creators launching NFTs in conjunction with sought-after mementos.

Works Cited:

The path to ownership: How Taylor Swift revived the masters rights discussion

By Kristen Johnson, Content Editor

In 2019, artist Taylor Swift posted a raging Tumblr essay in which she called out her record label CEO, Scott Borchetta, for selling the rights to her music to another record label owner, Scooter Braun, before giving her the chance to own her own music. A provision of recording contracts frequently included is one that irreversibly grants the masters rights of all music produced under that contract to the record label. There has been a movement in recent decades that argues this type of provision is entirely unconscionable. An unconscionable contract is one that “shocks the conscience” and generally involves unequal bargaining power, one-sided terms, and inequitable outcomes. Swift revived this discussion in her public feud with Braun, bringing the legal topic of masters ownership into popular media. Swift’s feud raises these questions: what legal remedies exist for artists to regain masters ownership, and how they are being played out?

The House of Representatives acknowledged an unequal bargaining power between artists and large entertainment production companies within the industry when Congress passed the amended U.S. Copyright Act in 1978. This Act included Section 203 governing termination of transfers and licenses. Under this section, artists can terminate, through a termination notice, the grant rights to their work after thirty-five years, enabling the rights and ownership of a work to revert to the creator. The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary wrote that these provisions were “needed because of the unequal bargaining position of authors, resulting in part from the impossibility of determining a work’s value until it has been exploited.”

However, the Act also included an exception to this thirty-five-year rule: the “work made for hire” doctrine. A recording can be deemed a “work made for hire” if it was either “prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment” or if “the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire.” Under this doctrine, work that qualifies as “work made for hire” will be treated as an exception to the general rule that the copyright of a work vests initially in the author, resulting in the copyright vesting directly in the employer.

Another legal strategy that has been used to counter Section 203 is the statute of limitations. Works created and copyrighted on or after January 1, 1978, but pursuant to an agreement made prior to January 1, 1978, are not covered explicitly under a termination provision and fall into a “gap.” There is ambiguity on whether works within this “gap” are legally terminable under Section 203. Consequently, litigation over an artist’s right to terminate under Section 203 commonly focuses on whether a work is a “work made for hire” and whether the statute of limitations has run out on works that fall into the “gap.” Either finding could prevent termination under Section 203.

One current case in particular may resolve some of these legal issues arising from the applicability of Section 203. Class action Plaintiffs in Waite v. UMG Recordings allege UMG Recordings (“UMG”) engage in a standard practice of continuing to exploit the Plaintiffs’ recordings while refusing to acknowledge their termination notices. Plaintiffs in this class action include Leonard Graves Phillips from California punk rock band The Dickies and Syd Straw from the Golden Palominos.After granting UMG exclusive rights per their recording contracts, each of these Plaintiffs sent a termination notice in compliance with the 1978 Copyright Act to UMG in order to exercise their termination rights and reclaim ownership of their masters. UMG’s legal department notified Plaintiffs on “virtually identical” grounds that the label would not honor the termination notices.Specifically, the label notified several Plaintiffs that the works constituted “works made for hire” and that the statute of limitations had run out to challenge the ownership status of their works.

In this case, Judge Kaplan’s August 2020 opinion for the Southern District of New York in response to the first amended complaint provides some guidance for musicians sending termination notices for works created during the “gap.” The question of whether gap grants are terminable under § 203 has been left to the courts or Congress. Since Congress has not acted, Judge Kaplan decided this ambiguity issue and concluded that such works were terminable under § 203 because of Congress’s original intent. Judge Kaplan reasoned that since Congress created § 203 with the intent an artist could “have an opportunity to share in the economic success of his or her works decades later,” it seems “unlikely” that Congress would have intended to bar that opportunity on a technicality like the “gap.” This opinion looks favorable for artists sending termination notices on works that fell in the “gap.”

Case law is still developing that shows the practicability of Section 203 as artists seek to terminate the grant rights to their work, thirty-five years after it has been created.

Works cited:

Amanda Arnoid and Melinda Fakuade, Untangling the Incredibly Complicated Taylor Swift—Scooter Braun Feud, N.Y. Mag.: The Cut (last updated Nov. 22, 2019),

Colleen McCullough, Comment, Unconscionability As a Coherent Legal Concept, 164 U. Pa. L. Rev. 779, 781 (2016).

Elizabeth Vulaj, Singing a different tune: Taylor Swift & other artists’ fight for music ownership, Practitioner Insights Commentaries, Aug. 28, 2020, 2020 PRINDBRF 0225.

Eriq Gardner, Judge Will Clarify Whether Musicians Can Reclaim Rights From Record Labels, Hollywood Reporter, (Aug. 11, 2020),

17 U.S.C.S. § 203 (LexisNexis 1976).

Ian Brereton, Note, Beginning of a New Age?: The Unconscionability of the 360-Degree Deal, 27 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 167, 176 (2009).

Waite v. UMG Recordings, Inc., No. 19-cv-1091 (LAK), 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125059 (S.D.N.Y. July 13, 2020).

Kuryakyn Holdings v. Ciro, 242 F. Supp. 3d 789, 803 (W.D. Wis. 2017).

Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint, Waite v. UMG Recordings, Inc., 450 F.Supp.3d 430, (2020) (No. 19-cv-1091), 2019 WL 6704061.

Sedosoft, Inc. v. Mark Burchett Ltd., 221 F. Supp. 3d 195, 197 (D. Mass. 2016) (Citing Cmty. for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730, 737 (1989)).

Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co., 350 F.2d 445, 449 (U.S. App. D.C. 1965).

Former horse racing trainer given 5-year sentence in doping case

By Brad Stephens, Managing Editor

Former horse racing trainer Jorge Navarro was sentenced Dec. 17 to five years in federal prison for his role in a federal doping conspiracy case.

Navarro was sentenced at a hearing before Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In addition to the sentence of five years – the maximum under guidelines – he was also ordered to pay $26 million in restitution.

The trainer pleaded guilty Aug. 11 to charges involving the administration of performance-enhancing drugs to horses in his care. He and about two dozen other defendants were charged in March 2020 as part of a federal crackdown of a wide-ranging horse doping scheme.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Dec. 10 filed a sentencing report that states, “Navarro’s case reflects failings, greed, and corruption at virtually every level of the world of professional horse racing.”

“Navarro’s aggressive pursuit of PEDs – and his eagerness to use racehorses under his care to test the potency of novel PEDs – displayed a particularly callous disregard for the well-being of the horses under his care and control,” the sentencing report reads.

The report highlights Navarro’s doping of X Y Jet, who died in January 2020 at age 8 following an apparent heart attack. Prior to his death, the gelding – who first raced for Navarro in December 2014 – earned more than $3 million for his connections but also endured three knee surgeries.

Intercepted Navarro communications from 2019 revealed X Y Jet “was struggling, but was then-medicated so that he could race competitively,” according to the report.

The sentencing report includes a photo of a pair of customized shoes Navarro owned that were emblazoned with the phrase “#JUICE MAN” – an opaque reference to “juicing” horses with performance-enhancing drugs. The report also includes still images from a GIF that Navarro sent to an associate showing a syringe loaded with dollar bills.

“Navarro’s nonchalance is further reason for this Court to impose a (five-year) sentence in order to convey the seriousness of Navarro’s criminality,” the report states.

Prior to his arrest, Navarro’s runners earned nearly $35 million from 2008-20. During this period, horses El Deal, Private Zone, and Sharp Azteca all won Grade 1 races for the trainer on the prestigious New York Racing Association circuit.

Navarro’s sentencing comes during a time when the horse racing industry faces intense scrutiny.

2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit died Dec. 6 of an apparent heart attack after a workout at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called for a “thorough and transparent examination” of the 3-year-old’s death.

Controversy already surrounded Medina Spirit after he tested positive following the Derby for a medication banned on race days in Kentucky.

Medina Spirit trainer Bob Baffert is suspended for two years from running horses at Churchill Downs, the Louisville, Kentucky track that hosts the Derby. The Hall of Famer’s attorneys have been fighting Kentucky racing commissioners in court over the late colt’s potential disqualification from his Derby score.

Feinstein co-sponsored an act in 2020 that created the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. The federal agency is tasked with establishing a national, uniform program to address veterinary procedures, racetrack maintenance, medication rules, and other industry issues.

Works Cited:

Matt Stahl, Jorge Navarro sentenced to 5 years prison time in doping case, Horse Racing Nation (Dec. 17, 2021, 10:55 a.m.),

Bob Kieckhefer, Navarro Pleads Guilty in Horse Doping Scheme, BloodHorse, (Aug. 11, 2021),

Matt Stahl, ‘Juice Man’: Navarro’s doping operation detailed in court filing, Horse Racing Nation, (Dec. 10, 2021, 8:34 p.m.),

Trainer Profile: Jorge Navarro, Equibase,

HRN Staff, Report: U.S. senator urges examination of Medina Spirit death, Horse Racing Nation, (Dec. 9, 2021, 9:06 a.m.),

HRN Staff, Baffert attorney: Test shows ointment led to failed Derby test, Horse Racing Nation (Dec. 3, 2021, 5:20 p.m.),

HISA press release, Federal authority submits racetrack safety regulations, Horse Racing Nation (Dec. 6, 2021, 5:55 p.m.),

Songlorious provides custom, handwritten songs

By Nathaniel Hobbs, Editor-In-Chief

How much would you pay for a custom song, handwritten for any special occasion, and capable of being used commercially?

As it turns out, the cost is low. Songlorious, a product of the pandemic, was founded by Omayya and Ellen Attout. Both had day jobs and a side hustle performing live music prior to the pandemic, but all of that was swept away when Omayya’s pay was reduced, Ellen’s job closed its doors, and music venues shut down. While trying to support themselves, the Attouts developed a fascinating idea – launching a website that offered custom songs to visitors for a fair price.

The general concept is straightforward. Custom song prices start at $45 for a 30-second acoustic jingle but can cost as much as $230 for a full three-minute song. According to the Attouts, the average order costs close to $179. There are also several available add-ons, such as more complex instrumentation, choice of specific artist, a faster turnaround time, or a commercial licensing fee. When placing an order, customers specify what the occasion is for and if there is a story behind the request. They can also choose from several moods or genres and identify a handful of lyrical elements for writers to include. There is a slight fee for revisions based on preference issues, but any changes are free if Songlorious makes a mistake.

To ensure songs are of a high quality, all artists and writers who join the website must audition by completing a hypothetical order, after which they undergo a training session to make sure each creation is “a five-star song.”

After launching in June 2020, the website quickly picked up support from artists looking to earn a living after being sidelined by the pandemic. The company continued to pick up momentum, earning a feature on Shark Tank that aired Oct. 15, 2021, and earning the Attouts investments from four of the five sharks. Songlorious projects revenues of $2.5 million for 2021 and $5 million in 2022. The company has already paid out more than $650,000 to 160 artists, each of whom was paid 35-50 percent of revenue generated from the songs they write and record.

Songlorious is not the only company tapping into the market for personalized songs. Another platform, Songfinch, was launched in 2016 and is backed by veteran music industry executives. Songfinch hosts more than 650 artists who have collectively created more than 25,000 original songs, and who have been paid more than $2.1 million in 2021. Similarly, Cameo has indicated it may move into the realm of personalized songs. The platform is already utilized by many well-known artists and pulled in more than $100 million in revenue last year, with a shocking 75 percent paid to the talent.

One major concern for the custom-song market is that live performances are beginning to take place in the United States in larger and larger numbers. Many major music festivals this year hosted hundreds of thousands of attendees. Supplemental income on which artists on Songlorious or Songfinch relied during the worst of the pandemic may no longer be necessary. However, the roster of artists on Songlorious seems to have remained highly engaged and willing to continue the work in addition to performing live. We can only wait and see if this market will last or if it will start to dry up as the world gradually recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Works Cited:

Songlorious, (last visited Nov. 21, 2021).

Chris Eggertsen, Cameo for Songs? This “Shark Tank” Startup Wants to Dominate the Personalized-Music Market, Billboard, (Nov. 3, 2021).

Bruce Springsteen rumored to be shopping musical catalogs

By Nathaniel Hobbs, Editor-In-Chief

Bruce Springsteen is the latest artist rumored to be shopping his musical catalogs, with both his publishing rights and recorded music potentially for sale.

It was common in the 1980s and 1990s for superstar artists to be granted ownership rights in earlier albums as an incentive to re-sign with labels that helped elevate them to superstar status. Artists who benefited from these deals include Garth Brooks, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, and Michael Jackson. Now, as streaming drives music consumption numbers higher than ever, major labels are paying large amounts of money to get the rights to those legacy acts back.

The latest purchase in the works is Sony’s negotiation to acquire Springsteen’s catalog. Though details of the negotiations have been kept under wraps, Billboard has estimated that the master recording catalog could value between $145 and $190 million.

Sources have also hinted Springsteen is shopping his publishing catalog, the underlying musical compositions that comprise the recorded works. Combined value of both the publishing and recording rights could be upwards of $350 million. According to the RIAA website, the Springsteen catalog has earned 65.5 million sales in the United States, including 15-times platinum Born in the U.S.A.But his music is not just a vestige of the past. Since 2018, the Springsteen catalog has sold the equivalent of 2.25 million albums in the United States.

Now seems to be one of the best times in history for artists who own their copyrights to capitalize on their works. In the past few years, music assets have generated the highest multiples in history, with catalogs selling for 25 to 30 times the net publishing share, or 15 to 20 times the net label share.

UMG purchased Bob Dylan’s catalog for $300 million. Hipgnosis spent roughly $1.37 billion between March 2019 and September 2020 purchasing several catalogs. Stevie Nicks and Imagine Dragons sold their catalogs for $100 million each, Neil Young’s catalog sold for $150 million, and Taylor Swift’s catalog was purchased for $300 million.

Although no deal has officially been struck, it will be interesting to see how the latest in a long line of catalog sales will be valued, and which other acts may be inspired by such large numbers to sell their rights as well.


In what is possibly the largest deal ever linked to a single artist’s catalog, it was announced December 16, 2021, that Bruce Springsteen sold his catalog of recorded music and publishing rights to Sony for $500 million.

The deal was struck between Springsteen, Sony Music, and Sony Music Publishing. Sony is the parent company of Columbia Records, where Springsteen has released all his records. Prior to this sale, Springsteen’s publishing catalog was controlled by Universal Music Group. Sony now controls Springsteen’s impressive catalog of over 300 songs, 20 studio albums, 23 live LPs, 7 EPs, and more.

Works Cited:

Number of on-demand music streams in the United States from 2013 to 2019, Statista, (May 10, 2021).

Ed Christman, Bruce Springsteen In Talks to Sell Recorded Music Catalog to Sony Music, Billboard, (Nov. 2, 2021).

Gold & Platinum, RIAA, (last visited Nov. 21, 2021).

Geoff Mayfield, The Ins-and-Outs of Music Catalog Sales and the Behind-the-Scenes Players Advising Songwriters Who Cash Out, Variety, (Apr. 8, 2021).

Amy Lamare, The Biggest Music Catalog Sales of the Last Year, Celebrity Net Worth, (Mar. 23, 2021).

Bobby Olivier, Bruce Springsteen Sells Publishing Catalog in Massive $500 Million Deal, NJ (Dec. 16, 2021).

Nina Corcoran, Bruce Springsteen Sells His Masters, Publishing Catalog to Sony for $500 Million, Pitchfork, (Dec. 15, 2021).

MLB lockout looms as league, players negotiate new deal

By Brad Stephens, Managing Editor

Major League Baseball appears to be headed toward a work stoppage as the league and its players negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The CBA governs the on-and-off-field relationship between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The current CBA expires at 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 1. If the league and its players cannot reach terms of a new CBA by Dec. 2, owners could lock out players and halt offseason processes like free agency. Spring training for the 2022 MLB season starts in February, with Opening Day scheduled for March 31. The longer a potential lockout drags on, the more anxious fans will become that it could affect next year’s schedule.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the media Thursday, Nov. 18 at an owners’ meeting in Chicago. He referenced fans’ unease over a work stoppage that could drag into the 2022 season and said, “our No. 1 priority is to make a deal.”

“Whatever my quote-unquote legacy turns out to be… all I can do is do the very best I can each individual day,” Manfred said, according to The Athletic. “In this circumstance, I think the best thing for the clubs and the fans is to do everything humanly possible to make an agreement.”

Manfred is a Harvard University-educated lawyer whose background is in labor and employment law. He served as outside counsel to MLB during a players’ strike that cost the league the end of its 1994 season and the beginning of its 1995 campaign.

The commissioner referenced that 1994-95 strike when talking about MLB trying “to control the timing of the labor dispute” – ostensibly through an owners’ lockout. Such a move would take away the MLBPA’s ability to strike like it did in 1994 if negotiations fell through.

“I don’t think ’94 worked out too great for anybody,” Manfred said, referencing the only year since 1905 that the World Series did not take place.

Yahoo Sports highlighted key issues affecting CBA negotiations.

One point of contention is how younger players’ years of service time affects money they make. The union has proposed increasing league-minimum salaries and allowing for arbitration earlier in players’ careers, while the MLB has countered by proposing an algorithm based on player production to replace the arbitration system entirely.

Another issue concerns competitive balance. The union believes some teams are intentionally fielding subpar rosters to save money and stockpile priority draft picks, which it says reduces the market for veteran players in free agency.

Finally, there are on-the-field matters to address. These include whether designated hitter rules will apply to both the American and National Leagues, whether the postseason will expand, and whether a pitch clock will be implemented to speed up play.

MLB and the MLBPA still have time to reach a deal before the current CBA expires.

“Look, these deals get made the last week,” Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf told NBC Sports Chicago. “It’s the same thing with players’ contracts in arbitration. They all settle the last day.”

Such an agreement would eliminate the prospect of a work stoppage and allow fans peace of mind the 2022 season will go as scheduled.

Works Cited:

Evan Drellich, Rob Manfred says offseason MLB lockout different than one that cancels games; ‘Time is becoming an issue’, The Athletic (Nov. 18, 2021),

Hannah Keyser, These are the 3 biggest issues that could push MLB into a lockout, Yahoo Sports (Nov. 19, 2021, 8:28 a.m.),

Tim Stebbins, Manfred indicates MLB lockout could be coming, NBC Sports Chicago (Nov. 18, 2021),