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.