Blog January 19, 2021
Ensure Your Safe Harbor Protection — (Re)Designate Your DMCA Agent This Month
- Person title
- Person title
The Copyright Office has announced a change that requires all internet service providers to re-designate their DMCA agent electronically by December 31, 2017.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) offers a safe harbor to internet service providers (ISPs) for certain claims of copyright infringement.  The DMCA defines an ISP as "a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefor."  This definition includes any "entity offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user's choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or received."  Search engines, directories, hosts of message boards, online marketplaces, and other websites that permit users to post content frequently fall within this description. The DMCA's safe harbor protection is critical for those made vulnerable to claims of copyright infringement based on the conduct of third parties.
The DMCA contains various requirements that ISPs must meet in order to be eligible for safe harbor protection. For example, ISPs are required to implement adequate notice-and-takedown procedures for claims of copyright infringement and expeditiously remove allegedly infringing content upon receiving notification. ISPs are also required to appoint an agent to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement. To properly designate an agent, ISPs must (1) make the agent's contact information publicly available on the ISP's website and (2) provide the Copyright Office with the agent's contact information. The DMCA requires that this information include the agent's name, address, phone number, and email address, as well as "other contact information which the Register of Copyrights may deem appropriate." 
While the Copyright Office has long used a paper-based system through which agents were designated, it introduced an electronic registration system in December 2016 and is requiring a re-designation of all DMCA agents via this online system. Previously filed paper designations will continue to be effective until the ISP has registered using the new online system or through December 31, 2017, whichever is earlier. Failure to designate an agent with the Copyright Office may result in a loss of safe harbor protection from claims of copyright infringement.
To effectively register an agent through the new online system, all ISPs must provide the Copyright Office with (1) the name, title, organization, address, phone number, and email address of two representatives of the ISP, (2) the name, address, phone number, and email address of the ISP, (3) alternate names for the ISP, including the name of its website/service and the associated domain name, and (4) the name, organization, address, phone number, and email of the designated agent. Further, ISPs must renew their agent designations every three years. This can be done either by amending the designation to update information as necessary or by resubmitting the designation altogether.
Given the value of the DMCA's safe harbor, and the cost of designation—$6.00 for three years—designating, or (re)designating, your agent now is a no-brainer. So start 2018 off right! To register your agent, go to: https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/.
The opinions expressed are those of the authors on the date noted above and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fish & Richardson P.C., any other of its lawyers, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This post is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed.
Blog July 6, 2020
Supreme Court Finds BOOKING.COM Protectable; Rejects "Sweeping Rule" Denying Protection to "generic.com" Marks
Blog June 27, 2019
First Amendment: 3, Lanham Act: 0 - SCOTUS Holds Lanham Act Prohibition on Immoral and Scandalous Marks is Unconstitutional Restriction on Free Speech
Blog January 30, 2019
2018 Trademark and Copyright Year in Review
Blog January 28, 2019
USPTO Announces Expedited Cancellation Pilot Program
Blog July 2, 2018
Supreme Court to Resolve Copyright Registration Circuit Split
Blog March 23, 2017
Hip Hip Hooray! Supreme Court Upholds Copyright Protection for Cheerleader Uniforms
Article March 13, 2017
Fish's Kristen McCallion, Catherine Stockell and Cindy Walden Quoted in World Trademark Review article, "Brand creation and protection: a multifaceted...
Blog October 17, 2016
USPTO Publishes Amendments to Trademark Rules of Practice
Blog August 19, 2016
Dancing Baby May Be Headed To Supreme Court
Blog December 12, 2022
USPTO Updates Deadline to Respond to Trademark Office Actions
Article August 22, 2022
Principal Vivian Cheng Featured in Law.com Q&A Series "How I Made Partner"
Article June 16, 2022
Principal Cynthia Walden and Associate Sarah Kelleher Author World Intellectual Property Review Article "Selling the Intangible in Fashion: What Does It...
Blog March 8, 2022
The Basics of TTAB Cancellations
Blog November 9, 2021
The Basics of TTAB Oppositions
Blog October 5, 2021
ITC Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2021
Article July 23, 2021
Fish Principal Cindy Walden Authors World IP Review Article "Brand Owner's Friend: the Lanham Act at 75"
Q&A June 7, 2021
Q&A with Cynthia Walden for Westlaw
Blog January 19, 2021
Trademark, Copyright Legislation Passed as Part of COVID-19 Relief Bill
Blog December 9, 2020