The U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) issued new rules last year requiring online service providers, including website and app operators, that previously filed a paper registration for a designated agent under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to refile using the USCO’s new electronic registration system. The registration designates who should receive notifications of alleged copyright infringement claims. The paper registrations will become invalid as of the end of this year. Service providers that do not electronically refile or meet the other rule requirements will lose the protections of the DMCA safe harbor that guard them from liability for copyright violations by third parties.
Each service provider must register the name of its designated agent and contact information electronically by December 31, 2017 using the USCO DMCA registration website. Electronic registrations are subject to a three-year renewal period. The USCO has expanded its classification of a designated agent from a specific individual and now permits registration by an individual’s name, a specific department (e.g., “Copyright Infringement Department”), a title (e.g., “General Counsel” or “DMCA Agent”), or third-party entity (e.g., a law firm or vendor). A service provider must also provide certain contact information for its designated agent, as well as two people that will serve as administrative contacts for the USCO. The USCO has also lowered the registration fee to $6.00 per designation.
Under the new rules, service providers must also:
•Maintain current and accurate registrations with the USCO at all times. Any update or amendment of the designated agent’s name or contact information is subject to additional registration fees and a restart of the three-year renewal period.
•Post the same information registered with the USCO on a publicly available website. The designated agent information on the website must match what is on file with the USCO.
•Provide the physical street address of the designated agent. A post office box may only be used in exceptional circumstances and requires prior written approval of the USCO