A service provider seeking to take advantage of certain of the safe harbors under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is required to designate an agent to receive takedown notices. The service provider is required to post the DMCA agent’s contact information on its website and to provide such information to the Copyright Office. On November 1, 2016, the U.S. Copyright Office, pursuant to its authority under 17 U.S.C. §512(c)(2), issued a final rule (codified at 37 C.F.R. § 201.38) establishing a new electronic system to designate agents to receive takedown notifications under the DMCA. Service providers that previously designated an agent with the Copyright Office via a paper filing will have until December 31, 2017 to submit new registrations through the electronic system or lose their safe harbor protection. It is extremely important that all service providers who rely on DMCA safe harbors are aware of, and comply with the requirements of, this new rule.
The new rule became effective on December 1, 2016, the date that the new online DMCA agent registration system and directory was launched, replacing the paper-based system implemented through the interim regulations adopted in 1998. Since December 1, 2016, the Office no longer accepts paper designations of DMCA designated agents.