US Copyright Office SealBefore I head off for a holiday break from the site, I wanted to quickly remind everyone that, if you have a site where users can upload content, you need to register a DMCA agent before the end of the year. This includes if you’ve registered an agent previously, as all previous registrations are set to expire.

Back in November 2016, The U.S. Copyright Office announced new rules for DMCA agents. The major change being that they were doing away with the old (and expensive) paper-based registration system and replacing it with an electronic one.

The drawback was that the previous database would be scrapped at the end of 2017, rendering those registrations invalid, and registrations would have to be renewed every 3 years. On the upside, the cost of a basic registration fell from $105 to just $6 and the process became much more simple.

Filing this registration is crucial to protect yourself from liability for copyright infringement. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, if you host content for users, you are protected from liability so long as:

  1. You lack actual or “red flag” knowledge of an infringement
  2. You do not receive financial benefit from an infringement that you have the ability to control
  3. You expeditiously remove or disable access to works that are alleged to be infringing (via a DMCA notice)
  4. You designate a DMCA agent to receive such notices of copyright infringement.

It’s the fourth item that’s at issue here as the DMCA agent must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office for the registration to be valid.

As such, even if you have registered a DMCA agent previously, you must (re)register before the end of the year to ensure that you remain protected.

If you need help filing the registration, I drafted a full guide for it in December last year. It should walk you through the steps for registering yourself (or someone else) as the agent for your website. The process is very simple, should only take a few minutes and is $6 for unlimited registrations.

If you are wanting someone else to take over the role of DMCA agent for your site(s), this is a service I offer at my consulting site CopyByte. For a simple registration the cost is $60 per year, which includes the handling and forwarding of 10 DMCA notices per month and up to 10 sites/apps.

If you’re interested, you can get in touch with me there.

But whether you do it yourself, use my services or go through a competitor, I encourage you to get this registration in before the end of the year, even if you have registered in the past.

This is something very easy that you can do to protect yourself and help make the internet a better place.

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