Skip to Main Content
Services Talent Knowledge
Site Search


Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

December 14, 2017

Don't Risk Copyright Liability - Re-Register the Designated Agent for Your Website by December 31st

In order to maintain the "safe harbor" protections and immunity from copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), you must register the Designated Agent for your website with the United States Copyright Office by December 31, 2017.

The DMCA is a 1998 amendment to the Copyright Act that adds several new provisions prompted by the technological innovations of the electronic or cyber revolution of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Though largely ignored by the general population, the DMCA is starting to garner the attention of many, and should be on the radar screen of every company that is engaged in hosting web content, such as permitting users to upload photos and videos, and here's why.

The "safe harbor" provisions of the DMCA gives an internet service provider (ISP) – defined as any "provider of online services or access" – i.e., a website operator, immunity from copyright infringement liability for user-generated content, but only if certain conditions are met. Primarily, the website operator must have procedures for, and a designated agent to accept, what is known as a DMCA "take-down" notice. In addition, to be absolved of liability, the web host: 1) cannot have actual knowledge of the infringing material or activity; 2) cannot be aware of facts or circumstances from which infringement is apparent; and 3) the provider must act expeditiously to remove the claimed infringing content. Finally, the website cannot benefit financially from the infringement.

In late 2016, what appeared to many to be an innocuous amendment to the DMCA that requires electronic registration (or re-registration) of an ISP's designated agent has proven to be problematic for some. Many believed that their prior (as was required previously) "paper" registration will satisfy the new requirement, but that is not the case. Even if a web host had previously registered by submitting a paper form, that same web host must register (or re-register) electronically with the Copyright Office. The failure to do so can jeopardize an ISP's immunity under the "safe harbor." And the risk can be a significant one. See BMG Rights Management (US) LLC v. Cox Communications, Inc. (1:14-cv-1611)(E.D. Va. 2016)(jury awarded $25 Million).

So before January 1, 2018, be sure to log on to the Copyright Office website, electronically register your designated agent (whose contact information must be updated), and pay the nominal fee. The risk of copyright liability and the loss of the DMCA's safe harbor are traps for the unwary and uninformed.


Click here to sign up for alerts, blog posts, and firm news.

Featured Media


COVID-19 Business Interruption Update: New York High Court Affirms in Favor of Insurer


USFWS Introduces General Permit for Bald and Golden Eagle Incidental Take


ORES Executive Director Issues First Denial of Section 94-C Permit Application Following Applicant's Partial Loss of Site Control


New Details About OPWDD Spending in the New York State FY 2025 Executive Budget


Second Circuit Reverses in Favor of Insured in $600,000 Fire Loss Case


New York State Minimum Wage Increases Are Here: Are You Compliant?

We're Growing in DC!

We’re excited to announce Barclay Damon’s combination with Washington DC–based Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram. SLS’s 10 lawyers, three paralegals, and four administrative staff will join Barclay Damon while maintaining their current office in DC’s central business district. Our clients will benefit from SLS’s corporate, real estate, finance, and construction litigation experience and national energy-industry profile, and their clients from our full range of services.

Read More

This site uses cookies to give you the best experience possible on our site and in some cases direct advertisements to you based upon your use of our site.

By clicking [I agree], you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For information on what cookies we use and how to manage our use of cookies, please visit our Privacy Statement.

I AgreeOpt-Out