As many of our clients are aware, in December 2016, the Copyright Office implemented a new electronic registration system — and applicable regulations — aimed at maintaining accurate records of the designated DMCA agents for certain service providers. One such regulation was a three-year renewal requirement.

Essentially, this allows a company to register an Agent of Record with the U.S. Copyright Office, as part of the company’s compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in order to qualify for the “safe harbor” in the event a third-party posts material that infringes the copyright of another on the company’s website.

Agents who were designated at the time the new system was launched will lose their designations if the service providers do not renew them by December 2019. This required renewal will ensure that the directory remains up-to-date, while additionally helping service providers to retain their safe harbor protections against certain online copyright infringement claims, by prompting them to keep their information current.

Confirming the accuracy of the agent information, and renewing their designation, is a simple process. For the curious, the Copyright Office has created a renewal instruction guide in both video and text format. Once submitted, the designation will remain in effect for an additional three years. If you decide to renew or update your agent designation prior to the expiration of the three-year period, the clock effectively resets and a new three-year period begins. Meaning that if your designation is set to expire on December 1, 2019, and you submit your renewal early, say on November 22nd, your new expiration date will be calculated from November, rather than December.

In an effort to keep as complete and accurate a directory as possible, the Copyright Office’s system will send automatic reminders at three months, two months, one month, and one week prior to the expiration of the designation. At the time of registration, a service provider can register up to four email addresses, all of which will receive the automatic reminders of the expiration date. Currently, the Copyright Office charges a $6 fee for each designation, amendment, or renewal.