Regardless of whether your company has previously designated an agent to receive notification of claimed infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”)—a United States copyright law which, among other things, provides certain safe harbors for internet service providers who may host infringing material—it’s time to do it (again).
Effective as of December 1, 2016, the United States Copyright Office (the “Office”) issued its final rule (codified as 201 CFR Part 201) regarding designation of DMCA agents via the Office’s new electronic system. Under the new rule, any service provider that previously designated a DMCA Agent must resubmit through the electronic system by December 31, 2017, or it will lose safe harbor protection notwithstanding any prior registration.
If you need to register, or re-register, here’s what you should do:
- Create an Account. In order to designate a DMCA agent using the new system, you must create an account. You may also engage a third party, including your legal counsel, to complete the registration on your behalf.
- Register Your Company. Once an account has been created, you or your designated representative can log in and register your company and its current agent within the system. The fee for online registration is $6 per designation, which is a substantial savings compared to the paper-based system’s fees of $140 or more.
- Designate Your Agent. You may determine your agent in one of a number of ways, as it can be (1) an individual, (2) a title or position at your company, (3) a specific department within your company, or (4) a third party. You must then provide the name, address, phone number, and email address of the agent. If you do elect to register an individual agent, be sure to promptly amend the registration if that person departs your company or the relevant role within your company.
- Verify Your Information. Verify that the information on your website matches the information you are submitting to the Office, and that both are correct. Failing to maintain accurate information and failing to ensure that the two match each create a risk of losing safe harbor protection under the final rule.
- Re-Register Every Three Years. The Office’s electronic system will send automated reminders to review and renew your designation, and for that reason you should be sure to register with regularly monitored contact information to ensure you receive the reminders. You will also need to re-register upon any change in your agent, even if prior to the required renewal time; doing so will reset the clock on your renewal period.
If you haven’t registered a DMCA Agent, you should do it now—and if you have, you should renew. Failing to follow the new online DMCA agent designation procedures by the end of 2017 may result in the loss important legal protections.
For more information on this and other Safe Harbor topics, contact Nick Feldman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 444-4500. Nick’s practice focuses on corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, dispositions, private equity transactions and general corporate matters for both public and private clients, focusing on middle-market and emerging growth companies. In addition, Nick counsels companies in connection with entity formation, corporate governance, federal and state securities laws and compliance, joint ventures, employee incentive plans, executive employment agreements and other executive compensation matters.