In October 2017, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a notice governing the manner by which online service providers must designate an agent for copyright infringement notifications pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Under proper circumstances, the DMCA allows online service providers safe harbor protection against copyright infringement attributable to third-party content if an agent is designated for receipt of takedown notices in the Copyright Office’s directory and the agent’s information is posted publicly on the provider’s website.
December 31, 2017 is the deadline for online service providers that store content provided by third-party users to re-designate an agent – via the online system – for receipt of DMCA takedown notices. The rule mandates the re-registration of agents that were registered before December 2016 through the previous paper process.
Prior, traditional designations will be considered invalid at the end of 2017.
The new, streamlined online application process also requires service providers to accurately re-designate agents every three in order to maintain DMCA safe harbor protection for third-party content. All such deadlines should be calendared in order to avoid termination.
Service providers are permitted to designate an individual, a position/title held by an individual at the organization, a third-party entity, or a specific organizational department. P.O. Box addresses for designated agents are now permissible.
Contact an adverting compliance attorney to discuss how to register through the new online process.
Richard B. Newman is an Internet marketing compliance and regulatory defense attorney at Hinch Newman LLP focusing on advertising and digital media matters. His practice includes conducting legal compliance reviews of advertising campaigns, representing clients in investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys General, commercial litigation, advising clients on promotional marketing programs, and negotiating and drafting legal agreements.
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