1.17.2017

Copyright Client Alert: Action Needed by Organizations whose Websites allow User Postings

originally published 1/16/2017 by Daniel Carosa, Anne Downey, Jordan L. Walbesser
Businesses and nonprofits that operate a website or other online presence (mobile app, blog, portal, game, etc.) where users may post content (for example, in a user forum) will need to take action in 2017 in order to obtain or preserve their protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor from copyright infringement liability.
Since its inception in 1998, the DMCA safe harbor, 17 U.S.C. 512(c), has offered a liability shield for an organization in connection with copyright infringing materials posted by website visitors, provided that the organization takes the necessary steps under the safe harbor rules. In the past, those steps included three things. First, the organization needed to publish contact information (typically in a website’s Terms of Use) so that copyright owners knew whom to contact when requesting a takedown of infringing material posted by a user. Second, the organization was required to mail or otherwise transmit to the U.S. Copyright Office an Agent Designation form listing the contact person to receive takedown requests for specified websites. Third, when a designated agent received a valid takedown request, the agent needed to act promptly in taking down the infringing materials, following the steps set forth in the DMCA rules.
Starting December 1, 2016, the second requirement has changed. The Agent Designation system now requires an online submission via the Copyright Office website. Moreover, any organization that previously designated an agent must resubmit the Agent Designation through the new online registration system by December 31, 2017. Failure to resubmit a designation will cause the previous designation to expire, resulting in a loss of the safe harbor protection.
For more information and compliance requirements, click here.

Jiminian Law PLLC is devoted to helping clients manage, protect, register, license, sell, grant and use their copyright(s) or defend it or themselves in matters of copyright infringement.  Regarding copyright management, it is always best to be pre-emptive with your business and implement a copyright strategy.  That is where I can come in.  Providing knowledgeable and effective representation are the keys to my success.  I am available for a free consultation if you call me at 917.388.3574 or 929.322.3546 or email me at danny@djimlaw.com.

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