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Copyright Office Rule Changes—Maintaining DMCA Safe Harbor Immunity Requires New Registration



The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides limited safe-harbor immunity from copyright infringement claims to certain types of websites and other online service providers. Earlier this year, we blogged regarding the need for such providers to now use an online portal to electronically designate an agent to receive take down requests and reported that all previous agent designations filed via the antiquated paper system will be ineffective as of December 31, 2017.

As we are quickly approaching the end of the year, now is the time for service providers, and those representing services providers, that host websites with user-generated content to make sure they are in compliance with the new regulations in order to maintain safe harbor immunity. Some important details of the new regulations are:

  • Separate agent designations must be filed for all corporate parents and/or affiliates that are separate legal entities
  • Service providers are required to list any and all alternate names under which they are doing business, including any names that the public would be likely to use in a search of the agent directory
  • A physical street address must be provided for the service provider – post office box numbers are no longer acceptable
  • An agent designation can now name any of an individual, a corporate department, or a third-party entity
  • Agent designations must be renewed every three years

The Copyright Office intends that the new system will be a much faster and more efficient way for copyright owners and the public to access designated agent information. Service providers’ submissions through the online registration system will automatically populate in the directory, and the public will be able to search either by service provider name or alternate name to obtain contact information for a designated agent.

For more information on registering (or re-registering) your designated DMCA agent, click here and here.

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