June 2017

Legal Update: DMCA Alert – Don’t miss the December 31st 2017 deadline to renew your DMCA Agent Designation


As any online service provider hosting third party content should know, Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) provides a third party content platform with an exemption from copyright liability, subject to a number of conditions, including abiding by the famous notice and take down process. Another essential condition to enjoy protection from liability under DMCA is to designate an agent to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement.

However, On December 1, 2016, the Copyright Office introduced a new online registration system for DMCA agents to replace the Copyright Office’s old paper based directory. In order to maintain an active agent designation with the Copyright Office, service providers must submit a new designation electronically using the new online registration system before December 31, 2017. Regardless of whether a service provider’s renewal period is approaching, a new agent designation must be submitted prior to December 31, 2017, otherwise the registered designated agent will expire and become invalid.

Essentially, this means that if you miss the December 31, 2017 deadline to renew your agent designation, you won’t be covered by the safe harbor anymore and you may face direct or contributory liability for copyright infringement resulting from third party content hosted on your website.

What you Need to Do

  • If you are an online service provider who allows users to post, upload, or store content via your services, this rule change applies to you.
  • If your renewal period for filing an agent designation does not expire before December 31, 2017, you will still need to file an updated agent designation.
  • The updated rules mandate that an agent designation must be renewed every three years.

If you have questions regarding this client alert, or if you would like assistance filing this new agent designation, please contact a member of your Sideman & Bancroft team.