We wanted to remind our readers that, as of January 1, 2018, all paper designation of “notice and takedown” agents will become invalid.  As we have previously written, in order to have a valid “notice and takedown” procedure in the copyright laws (the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), the website owner must designate an agent to receive notices of claimed copyright infringement, and register that agent with the Copyright Office.  The good news is that the cost of the electronic registration is only $6.

Every website owner (called a “service provider” in the DMCA) that is currently registered for DMCA takedown notices with the Copyright Office will need to re-register under the new electronic system by no later than December 31, 2017. Any website owner that does not have a registered agent, but wants the advantages of the “notice and takedown” safe harbor under § 512 of the DMCA should register an agent by December 31, 2017.  (All paper designations will become invalid as of January 1, 2018.)

Start by going to the Copyright Office’s website and either creating an account or logging into your account, at https://dmca.copyright.gov/osp/login.html

  • Website owners/service providers are required to set up a free online account with the Copyright Office and will be required provide the following information, which will not be made public:
    • Login ID and password
    • Primary representative’s full name or position or title, organization, physical mail address, phone number and e-mail address.
    • Secondary representative’s full name or position or title, organization, physical mail address, phone number and e-mail address.
    • Note that website owners/service providers may hire a third party to manage the copyright agent designations, but each affiliate of the website owner/service provider will need a separate designation.
  • For its own DMCA registration, the website owner/service provider must provide the following information:
    • Legal name
    • Physical address (no P.O. Boxes unless a special exemption is given)
    • Telephone number
    • E-mail address
    • Alternate names used by the service provider (including names that “the public would be likely to use to search for the service provider’s designated agent”)
    • Designated agent’s name, organization, physical mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), telephone number, and e-mail address. The designated agent need not be an individually named person, but can be a title or an organization.
  • Once registered, the electronic registration will automatically expire after 3 years. The system will automatically generate notices of upcoming expirations and reminders to renew designations.
  • Amending a registration will re-start the 3-year expiration clock.
  • Fees to renew/amend a registration will also (currently) be $6.
  • Prior versions of the registrations will be available to the public free of charge for up to 10 years.
  • Anyone managing multiple agent designations will need to review and renew each one separately, as the Copyright Office will not permit simultaneous renewals of multiple designations

Once electronically registered, the designated agent should keep his/her email address current with the Copyright Office so as not to miss important communications. The agent should review periodically the information on file with the Copyright Office to ensure the email address is correct.