Reminder: Renew/Update Your DMCA Agent Designation

It's that time of the (third) year...

Consider this a brief reminder, if you operate a website or service that hosts content uploaded by third parties (namely users), the time to renew your Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) agent designation is likely approaching fast.

To recap, the DMCA provides legal protection for sites and services when their users upload infringing material. This is why Instagram, for example, is not legally liable when a user uploads an infringing image.

However, to obtain that protection the law requires that hosts expeditiously remove or disable access to allegedly infringing material after they receive a proper notice. The law also requires hosts to designate a DMCA agent and list that person’s contact information both on their site and in the Copyright Office’s database.

In November 2016, the U.S Copyright Office announced that it was changing the rules for submitting DMCA agents. Gone were the paper forms and $105 minimum fees. Instead, it was replaced by a fully electronic system and a fee of just $6.

However, the catch was that those registrations needed to be renewed every three years in order to remain valid.

Since the system came online on December 1, 2016, for many, those renewals are coming due shortly. That’s because many hosts, like myself, jumped on the system quickly.

As such, if you registered your work shortly after the new system came online, now might be a good time to hop back in, make sure the information is still accurate and pay for the renewal.

It only takes a couple of seconds to do but, given that many have likely lost their passwords or changed email addresses, it’s probably worthwhile to hop on now so you can fix any issues.

If you operate a site or service that hosts content for users and you haven’t done this, then consider this a reminder to do so. Not only is the process remarkably simple and inexpensive, but it can provide valuable legal protection. Furthermore, if you do it this time of year, you’ll in pace with the pack and get reminders like this one (in case you forget).

If you are looking for someone to designate as a DMCA agent, there are many companies that provide this service, including me over at my consulting site.

But, whether you do it yourself or have someone else, now is likely the best time to think about creating, updating or renewing your DMCA agent registration.

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