Earlier today, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a new release of its electronic system used to designate and search for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) agents.
Under the DMCA, a qualified online service provider (OSP) is not liable for copyright infringement with respect to infringing material residing on the OSP’s network if, upon notification of a claimed infringement, the OSP acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material. One of the prerequisites to receiving this statutory “safe harbor” protection is that OSPs must designate an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement. The OSP must supply its agent’s contact information to the Copyright Office; in turn, the DMCA instructs the Register of Copyrights to maintain a publicly available, current directory of agents.
In December of 2016, the Copyright Office launched a fully electronic, online agent directory. As a result of user feedback, the Copyright Office has now updated its online system to simplify the user account creation process. The new account creation process will no longer require a user to provide the position or title, organization, or physical mailing address for the individual named as the user’s primary point of contact for communications with the Copyright Office. Additionally, while the online system continues to recommend that users provide a secondary contact, such information is no longer required.
To ensure continued safe harbor protection, OSPs should make sure to remain up-to-date as to the Copyright Office’s regulations governing the online agent directory and the Office’s requirements for compliance with the DMCA.