Copyright Office Announces Requirements for DMCA Protections

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides valuable liability protections for service providers and website operators.  The DMCA protects service providers and website operators from liability for copyright infringement due to content posted by third parties.  To take advantage of the DMCA’s safe harbor protections, website operators must designate an agent to receive notices of claimed copyright infringement (DMCA Agent).  The name, address, phone number, and e-mail address of the DMCA Agent must be posted on the website and also submitted to the Copyright Office.

Changes to the U.S. Copyright Office’s registration system mean that prior registrations will need to be updated.   The U.S. Copyright Office launched an online system for service providers and website operators to provide notice to the Copyright Office of the DMCA Agent.  Registering through the online system is mandatory for those who have not previously registered their agents through the U.S. Copyright Office’s paper registration system.  The Copyright Office providers a transition period for parties who registered their DMCA Agents by paper prior to December 1, 2016.  Prior registrants will be able to rely on their paper registrations until December 31, 2017.   Those registrants will need to register their DMCA Agents through the online system no later than December 31, 2017, or else they will lose protections provided by the DMCA.  After December 31, 2017, any paper registration of a DMCA Agent will be ineffective.  Failing to update a DMCA Agent registration or not registering an agent through the online system could cause service providers and website operators to lose the liability protections provided by the DMCA.

To avoid losing DMCA safe harbor protections, service providers and website operators should make sure they are registered through the U.S. Copyright Office’s online system.  Please contact us if we can assist you with this registration process.

This article is provided for general information and is not intended to be legal advice for any specific situation.  If you are in need of specific advice or legal representation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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