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DMCA Service Providers December 31, 2017 Deadline to Switch to Online System

Any designation made in the paper-based registration system will expire after December 31, 2017

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) provides a safe harbor from copyright infringement liability for service providers who provide a designated agent to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement on their platforms. In order to affect the safe harbor, the designated agent's contact information must be made available to the public on the service provider’s website, and his or her contact information must be provided to the Copyright Office so that it may maintain a centralized directory for public use.

Until recently, service providers were required to provide the contact information for their designated agent through a paper system. In December 2016, the Copyright Office introduced an online submission system that electronically generated the online directory, and the Office ceased the acceptance of paper registrations.

Now, the Office is requiring all service providers that designated an agent through the old paper system to re-submit a new electronic designation by December 31, 2017. After December 31, 2017, any designation that was not made through the online system will become invalid, thereby impacting the service provider’s safe harbor. During the transition period, the Copyright Office will maintain both the old paper directory and the new online directory. However, the new directory will serve as the primary record, with the old directory being consulted only when the service provider has not yet resubmitted its designation through the online system.

TAKEWAY: DMCA service providers who submitted designated agent information to the Copyright Office prior to December 2016 need to resubmit the information electronically before December 31, 2017.