The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) provides a “safe harbor” for certain online content providers (a “service provider” in the parlance of the Copyright Office and related laws) from liability for copyright infringement. This can be found at 17 USC 512 (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/512) and more details are available here.
What is often overlooked is that for a service provider to be able to avail itself of the “safe harbor,” the service provider must designate a “Designated Agent” and must register the Designated Agent with the Copyright Office every three years.
This can only be done electronically.
The first step is to create an account with the Copyright Office for this purpose. That can be done at https://dmca.copyright.gov/osp/p1.html;jsessionid=5A417AD3A6083EC4A3CB58294AEEA008 or, If you have already done so, you can, simply log-in to your account at https://dmca.copyright.gov/login.html.
Each separate service provider must have its own Designated Agent. Related or affiliated service providers that are separate legal entities (e.g., corporate parents and subsidiaries) are considered separate service providers, and each must have its own separate Designated Agent.
The current fee is $6 per designation, amendment, or resubmission. There is no additional fee to include alternate names for each service provider.
Each designation is valid for three years and must be renewed thereafter. Note that the safe harbor provisions are not valid for a company that does not have a Designated Agent recorded with the Copyright Office.
A service provider is required to supply its full legal name, physical street address (not a post office box), any alternate names used by the service provider, and the name, organization, physical mail address (street address or post office box), telephone number, and email address of its Designated Agent.
A Designated Agent may be an individual (e.g., “Jane Doe”), a specific position or title held by an individual (e.g., “Copyright Manager”), a specific department within the service provider’s organization or within a third-party entity (e.g., “Copyright Compliance Department”), or a third-party entity generally (e.g., “ACME Takedown Service”). Only a single Designated Agent may be designated for each service provider.
Creating the account is straightforward but, if you need further information, see https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/transcripts/register.pdf. Helpful videos and other information about designating the agent can be found at https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/help.html. A list of frequently asked questions can be found at https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/faq.html.
To search for a designated agent, visit https://dmca.copyright.gov/osp/.
For further information, please feel free to contact us.
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