If there is one thing you need to do by the end of the year, it is refiling your designated agent registration with the Copyright Office. The message from the Copyright Office is very clear — if you do not refile by December 31, you will lose the safe harbor protections under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Consequently, you will forfeit all shields from monetary liability and may end up paying statutory damages and attorney’s fees if you are found liable for copyright infringement claims caused by user-uploaded materials.

Refiling the agent designation is relatively simple — you can do so online through the Copyright Office’s electronic registration system.  Under the new electronic system, an individual can be identified as the agent, as well as a specific position, title or department of the agent.  The process will likely take less than 20 minutes and costs just $6.00. Renewal is required in three years.

Under the DMCA, online service providers, such as providers and operators of any website, mobile app, game, etc., can protect themselves from copyright infringement claims arising out of user-uploaded materials by registering an agent and promptly taking down allegedly infringing content.  To continue benefiting from such safe harbor protections after December 31, designated agent information must remain up-to-date in the Copyright Office database so that the public can send DMCA take-down notices to the designated agent. These changes are meant to simplify the Copyright Office’s maintenance of the designated agent database and, more importantly, to provide the most up-to-date designated agent information to the public.

Trust us, this will be the most valuable $6.00 you spend over the next three years. View our November 2016 legal update for more information about the changes to the DMCA registration system.

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Photo of Makiko Coffland Makiko Coffland

Makiko Coffland focuses her practice on intellectual property and technology law. She represents clients in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and contractual matters, including negotiation, enforcement and defense.

Makiko is a registered patent attorney before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and has experience securing patents in the medical devices, bio-tech, software and electronics industries, as well as a variety of clothing and mechanical designs, among others. She also secures and enforces trademarks.

She advises clients in various IP-related transactions and litigations in the fields of trade secret and antitrust.  She speaks fluent Japanese and enjoys working with Japanese clients and companies.

Before becoming an attorney, Makiko studied marine biology and molecular biology at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field. Makiko also worked as a researcher in the fields of environmental engineering and microbiology and as an invention analyst for patent examination at the Japan Patent Office, where her interest shifted to patents, leading her to a new career in intellectual property and technology law.

Photo of Katherine C. Spelman Katherine C. Spelman

Kate Spelman has more than 30 years of experience providing strategic advice, design and implementation counsel for large, mid-sized and startup companies on copyright, trademark, trade secret and patent matters, both nationally and internationally, and has a special focus on media, licensing and mass digitization issues.

She advises clients on the development, production, sale and defense of work related to emerging content distribution strategies and challenges, special issues in news reporting including repurposing content, and firewall and paywall configuration in light of changes in the fair use defense.

Kate is a frequent speaker on the progress of emerging copyright and digital publishing issues, and has advised authors, nonprofit and for-profit publishers, and internet service providers on the new language and provisions of the changed, global distribution environment. She is also a member of the advisory group for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law of Copyright project. She has represented large digital publishing companies in international distribution agreements as well as represented developers and designers who are building and launching tools for online transmissions, storytelling, expression and art.

Additionally, Kate has experience assisting clients with Open Source licensing issues, including Open Source integrated licenses, audits, mergers and acquisitions due diligence, and compliance negotiations. She also helps clients design independent holding companies in the U.S. and in offshore intellectual property asset management. Kate has experience with intellectual property asset audits, and has assisted companies in proactive and reactive regulatory reporting requirements.