How $105 Can Help You Avoid a Copyright Lawsuit

If you run a forum site or any other type of site where users can upload content and are in the U.S., you are probably already somewhat aware of the legal protections provided by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Specifically, the law protects webmasters and site owners whose users upload infringing materials.

However, the law also has a series of formalities that any site wishing to take advantage of this protection, or “safe harbor”, has to take. This includes designating an agent to receive notice of copyright infringement, responding expeditiously to remove or disable access to allegedly infringing material when notified and, perhaps most tricky of all, registering your designated agent with the U.S. Copyright Office.

All of the other things you can do easily on your own without incurring any cost. However, registering with the U.S. Copyright Office does cost a small amount of money, namely $105 for a single site. Though it isn’t time consuming or difficult, it is a step that many webmasters overlook, even if it is one that could help them avoid a copyright lawsuit down the road.

Why Register a DMCA Agent?

The DMCA safe harbor provisions were designed to protect webmasters and hosts from actions taken by their users while also giving copyright holders a simple means to remove infringing content without going to court for every single infringement.

Under safe harbor, for example, YouTube nor its parent company Google are liable for copyright infringement when a user uploads an infringing video. As long as YouTube removes the videos when notified and agrees to take additional action against “repeat” infringers, YouTube is safe from copyright liability, as per the recent rul