The U.S. Copyright Office recently introduced a new online registration system for service providers to designate agents to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). Prior to this new online registration system, service providers registered their designated DMCA agents by completing a paper form and sending the form into the U.S. Copyright Office. As of December 1, 2016, in order to qualify for protection under the DMCA’s Section 512 “safe harbor” provisions (the “DMCA Safe Harbor”), service providers will now have to register their designated DMCA agents using the U.S. Copyright Office’s new online registration system.

Service providers who previously designated their DMCA agent with the U.S. Copyright Office using the paper form must re-register using the online system. In order to maintain an active designation with the U.S. Copyright Office, a service provider that has previously registered its DMCA agent must submit a new electronic designation by December 31, 2017.

More About the DMCA Safe Harbor

Under the DMCA Safe Harbor, a service provider that makes available, transmits, caches, stores, or links to user-provided materials may be exempt from liability for the infringing activities of those users if the service provider meets certain conditions. A service provider that allows users to post content, share videos or images, or write comments on its website may qualify for protection under the DMCA Safe Harbor if it does not actually know about the copyright infringement, does not benefit from the infringement, and promptly removes any infringing materials upon discovery. In addition, in order to gain the benefits of the DMCA Safe Harbor, a service provider must designate an agent to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement under the DMCA, make certain contact information of the agent available to the public on its website, and register the designated agent with the U.S. Copyright Office.