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December 18th, 2017
Deadline: Are Your Copyright Office DMCA Agent Registrations Up to Date?
December 31, 2017 is the deadline for certain online service providers to update their Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") agent registrations on the US Copyright Office's new online registration system. Failure to properly update your DMCA agent information by the deadline may expose your company to liability for copyright infringement. Here's what you need to know.
Under the DMCA, companies that meet certain eligibility requirements are entitled to safe harbor protection from liability for copyright infringement. If companies that host potentially infringing user-generated content on their websites comply with these requirements, for example, they may not be liable for secondary copyright infringement.
To fall within this safe harbor, companies must, among other things, designate an agent with the Copyright Office to receive complaints of copyright infringement, and maintain accurate and up-to-date contact information for the agent with the Copyright Office and on the company's website. Prior to December 1, 2016, companies could comply with these designation and registration requirements only by submitting paper forms to the Copyright Office, which then scanned the forms and put them in a directory on the Office's website. Under the paper-based system, DMCA agent designations did not expire as long as the information remained current and accurate.
December 31, 2017 deadline for online registration
Since December 1, 2016, the Copyright Office has operated a new online system for designating and registering DMCA agents. Although the new system has been operating since December 1, 2016, DMCA agent designations made under the old paper-based system remain valid, but only until December 31, 2017. In other words, all DMCA agent designations made prior to December 1, 2016 expire on December 31, 2017. Thus, companies wishing to take advantage of the DMCA safe harbor and that last registered their DMCA agent prior to December 1, 2016, must register or re-register an agent using the Copyright Office's online system by December 31, 2017.
Registrations and amendments under the new system cost $6.00. This is significantly less than the cost under the prior system.
In addition to updating your agent registrations by the December 31, 2017 deadline, you will need to renew the registrations in the future as well: DMCA agent online registrations expire automatically three years from the date of submission. If an online registration is amended, the expiration date is three years from the date of the amendment.
The Copyright Office maintains an online directory of registered DMCA agents accessible to the public. This new directory now lists whether a company's registration is current and active, and identifies any gaps in registration. Thus, failure to properly update your agent registration effectively places you on a list of companies that may be unable to use the DMCA safe harbor to defend claims.
You can update your DMCA agent registrations here.
If you have any questions about DMCA agent registration, or about other copyright law issues, please contact Craig B. Whitney at (212) 826 5583 or email@example.com, Jeremy Goldman at (310) 579 9611 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Matt Woleske at (212) 705 4844 or email@example.com, or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Litigation Group.
Other Intellectual Property Law Alerts
Beware of Trademark Solicitation Scams
Trademark solicitation scams are on the rise. If you receive correspondence about your trademarks from someone other than your trademark attorneys — correspondence that looks like an invoice or an offer for trademark services — it may not be legitimate. Here's a summary of what the scams look like and what you should do about them.
September 5 2017
Boston Restaurant Could Not Enforce Geographically Descriptive Trademark Against Celebrity Chef
In a closely watched trademark battle with implications for food, beverage and other industries, a federal court has found for celebrity chef and television personality Christopher Kimball and his new media company, CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL'S MILK STREET. An allegedly competing business, MILK STREET CAFÉ, had sued CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL'S MILK STREET, arguing that Kimball's use of CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL'S MILK STREET was likely to cause confusion with MILK STREET CAFÉ.
August 30 2017
Supreme Court Strikes Down Lanham Act Prohibition on Registration of Disparaging Trademarks
On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Matal v. Tam that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits the federal registration of disparaging trademarks, is unconstitutional because it violates "a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend."
June 20 2017