To Qualify for Liability Safe Harbor, Internet Service Providers Must Now Register Designated Agents Online


An important change affecting online service providers  has been instituted by the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) relating to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The DMCA provides a safe harbor for service providers and includes entities that provide websites featuring the content of third parties. The DMCA safe harbor protects service providers from liability for monetary damages for third-party materials that infringe the rights of others, provided that such service providers comply with the “notice and takedown procedures” set forth in the DMCA.

In order to qualify for the safe harbor, a service provider must register a designated agent with the USCO to receive notification of an alleged infringement. In the past, service providers filled out paper forms for submission to the USCO. The USCO, however, has updated its system and now requires that service providers re-register their designated agents through the USCO’s new online “DMCA Designated Agent Directory,” prior to the end of 2017, in order to continue to take advantage of the safe harbor.

Detailed information about the new system is available on the Copyright Office’s website. For additional information, please contact a member of the Waller Intellectual Property team.

The opinions expressed in this bulletin are intended for general guidance only. They are not intended as recommendations for specific situations. As always, readers should consult a qualified attorney for specific legal guidance.