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DMCA Designated Agent List Going Online

Logo of US Copyright Office, which announced that its DMCA designated agent paper filings will transition to an online systemThe U.S. Copyright Office maintains designated agent records under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Office recently announced that will be moving from paper to an online system.

DMCA Background

The DMCA protects online service providers against liability for user-provided content that infringes third parties’ copyrights. (Please see Terms of Use and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) .) However, there are several requirements for that protection to exist.

One of the requirements is that the service provider must designate an agent that will receive notifications of claimed infringement.

Until now, service providers have identified the designated agent via a paper form. (Please see the Interim Designation of Agent to Receive Notification of Claimed Infringement.)

Designated Agent Records Going Online

However, on November 1, 2016 the Copyright Office issued a final rule pertaining to designation of agents under the DMCA. The Copyright Office’s announcement included the following information:

To modernize its practices, the Office has created a new fully-electronic online system through which service providers can more efficiently submit and update, and the public can more easily search for and find, designated agent information. The adopted final rule governs service provider use of the new system and updates what is required of service providers to remain compliant with section 512(c)(2).

The new regulations are effective as of December 1, 2016, the same date that the new electronic system and directory will be launched. Any service provider that has previously designated an agent with the Office will have until December 31, 2017 to submit a new designation electronically through the new online registration system.

As part of the transition to the new system, the Office’s present public directory of designated agents, generated by service providers’ paper filings, will be phased out on December 31, 2017. Until that time, an accurate designation in the old paper-generated directory will continue to satisfy the service provider’s obligations under section 512(c)(2), and the public will need to continue to search the paper-generated directory if the service provider is not yet listed in the new electronically-generated directory.

Implications for Service Providers

As a result, the most important implications for service providers who want DMCA protection are as follows.

  • Beginning December 1, 2016, service providers need to use the new online system to designate agents. (The link to that system in the preceding sentence will not be effective until that date.)
  • Any existing (paper) designations must be replaced by by online designations by December 31, 2017.
  • Perhaps most significantly, designations will expire after three years. Accordingly, to keep designations effective, they will need to be renewed every three years.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law +1 510-547-0545 dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.