• office locations
     
    Bluffton, SC map
    Bluffton, SC Office
    The Plaza at Belfair
    4 Clarks Summit Drive
    Suite 200 | Bluffton, SC 29910-4993
    843.815.2171  Main | 843.815.5991  Fax
     
    Charleston, SC map
    Charleston, SC Office
    100 Calhoun Street
    Suite 400 | Charleston, SC 29401
    843.723.7831  Main | 843.722.3227  Fax
     
    Charlotte, NC map
    Charlotte, NC Office
    Bank of America Plaza
    101 South Tryon Street
    Suite 2610 | Charlotte, NC 28280
    704.347.1170  Main | 704.347.4467  Fax
     
    Columbia, SC map
    Columbia, SC Office
    1221 Main Street
    Suite 1800 | Columbia, SC 29201
    803.799.9800  Main | 803.753.3278  Fax
     
    Greenville, SC map
    Greenville, SC Office
    Poinsett Plaza
    104 South Main Street
    Suite 700 | Greenville, SC 29601
    864.271.4940  Main | 864.271.4015  Fax
     
    Hilton Head Is., SC map
    Hilton Head Island, SC Office
    Shelter Cove Executive Park
    23-B Shelter Cove Lane
    Suite 400 | Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
    843.785.2171  Main | 843.686.5991  Fax
     
    Myrtle Beach, SC map
    Myrtle Beach, SC Office
    Founders Centre
    2411 Oak Street
    Suite 206 | Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
    843.444.1107  Main | 843.444.4729  Fax
     
  • contact us
      No   Yes  
PROFESSIONALS OTHER CONTENT
     
Instagram

News Room

Print
Share

Online Service Providers: Don't Lose Your DMCA Safe Harbor ProtectionsAuthored by: Hunter S. Freeman and Douglas W. Kim
November 17, 2016

Related Information

Locations

On or before December 31, 2017, service providers must provide new designated-agent information to the U.S. Copyright Office through its new online registration system. Otherwise, the online service provider will not be eligible for the safe harbor protections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the "DMCA"). The notification of this new regulation can be found by clicking here.

The safe harbor provisions of the DMCA provide for a strong shield against copyright infringement liability that is based upon content posted by internet users. However, this shield requires that the online service provider strictly comply with all of the requirements of the DMCA, which will now include the online registration of a designated agent for the online service provider. When these issues have been litigated, some courts removed the shield if the online service providers had not strictly complied with the DMCA.

The registration of an agent generally applies to companies that provide website hosting, email services, blogs, chat rooms or other venues in which user-generated content may be posted online. While the website is not yet operational, the new system will be accessible at www.dmca.copyright.gov/login.html. Companies that have previously designated an agent through a paper submission have until December 31, 2017. Companies that have yet to designate an agent with the Copyright Office in any manner will be ineligible to seek refuge under the DMCA's safe harbor provisions until the new designated-agent information is electronically submitted. In either case, the designated-agent registration has to be renewed every three years. 

Since 1998, the Copyright Office has maintained a ''current directory'' of agents who have been designated by online service providers to receive notifications of claimed infringement. While the DMCA requires service providers to update their designations with the Copyright Office as information changes, the Copyright Office believes that many have failed to do so, causing much of the information in the directory to become inaccurate and out-of-date. Therefore, the Copyright Office designed and launched a new electronic system for online service providers to register their agents. While there are new fees associated with the new system, they are minimal and are well worth the protections provided by the DMCA's safe harbor provisions.

Please contact us if you would like more information on the new regulations, the registration process or if you wish for us to docket the renewal dates as a periodic reminder for you to renew your designated-agent registrations. Without the safe harbor protections, an online service provider can be exposed to copyright infringement, especially when the content underlying the infringement is generated and/or posted by an internet user without the online service provider's knowledge.
 

If you have questions, please contact the authors of this alert, Hunter S. Freeman and Douglas W. Kim, members of the firm's Intellectual Property and Litigation practice groups.