It’s Time to Re-Register your DMCA Agent

Published On November 29, 2016 | By Anna Myers and Jake Sommer | General
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Have you registered an agent with the Copyright Office to take advantage of DMCA’s safe harbor? If so, it’s time to do it again. The Copyright Office issued its final rule (to be codified at 37 CFR Part 201) regarding DMCA agent registration under the Office’s new electronic system. Under the new final rule, any company that previously registered under the DMCA must re-register by December 31, 2017, or they will no longer be able to take advantage of the DMCA’s safe harbor.

What You Need to Do Now

  • On (or soon after) December 1, 2016, register your current agent with the new electronic system. The fees for online registration are $6 per designation.
  • Verify that the information on your website matches the information with the Copyright Office. The final rule clarifies that the information on a publicly available website must match the filing with the Copyright Office.
  • Register by general department contact rather than by an individual agent to ensure you receive automated reminders to renew your registration. The final rule permits service providers to register designated agents by (1) individual (not recommended), (2) title or position (e.g. Copyright Manager), (3) specific department (e.g. Copyright Compliance Department), or (4) third-party entity (e.g. ACME Takedown Service).

What You Need to Do Later

  • Re-register for any change in your agent designation. This re-registration will reset the three (3) year renewal period.
  • Periodically re-register every three (3) years as required by the final rule. The electronic system will send automated reminders to service providers to review and renew their designations. It is recommended you use departmental contact information to ensure you receive the automated reminders. This three year renewal period will reset after a service provider re-registers for any change in their agent designation.

Consequences of Not Maintaining Your Registration

Non-compliance with the final rule may result in a loss of DMCA section 512 safe harbor protections. Section 512 requires online service providers to designate an agent, among other eligibility requirements, to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement. Any changes to the designated agent’s information must be updated and the registration must be renewed every three (3) years.


About The Authors

Anna Myers was a ZwillGen Fellow 2016-2017.

Jacob Sommer's practice focuses on legal issues related to Internet-based services and social networking, with a focus on protecting client's rights in litigation or government investigations involving the Copyright Act, Lanham Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”), the Wiretap and Communication Acts, CAN-SPAM, FISA and federal and state laws governing Internet gambling. He also helps social networks, search engines, e-mail providers, ISPs and other clients fulfill their compliance obligations pertaining to the discovery and disclosure of customer and subscriber information.