Digital Millennium Copyright Act Alert

If you operate a website that allows users to post or store content, you are probably already familiar with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  For those not familiar with the DMCA, it provides a safe harbor from copyright infringement liability for certain on-line service providers, including website operators that allow users to post or store content, such as product or service reviews, articles, and the like, on the provider's system.  To be entitled to this safe harbor protection, a service provider must comply with certain DMCA conditions.  Among those conditions, the service provider must designate an agent to receive notices of copyright infringement (DMCA Agent), provide a notice on its website informing visitors of the procedure for notifying the DMCA Agent of an alleged copyright infringement, and register the DMCA Agent with the U.S. Copyright Office.

In December 2016, the Copyright Office implemented an electronic DMCA Agent registration system to replace its paper registration system.  At that time, the Copyright Office adopted a rule requiring any service provider that had designated its DMCA Agent prior to December 1, 2016, to submit a new designation electronically by December 31, 2017.  Failure to satisfy this requirement will cause the current designation to expire and become invalid.

If you operate a website or other on-line service that qualifies for coverage under the DMCA and you last registered your DMCA Agent before December 1, 2016, you must act quickly to re-register your DMCA Agent in order to maintain compliance with the DMCA.

You can register your DMCA Agent on the Copyright Office website at https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/.  There is also a help page at https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/ that explains the registration process.

If you have questions about whether and how the DMCA may apply to your website, please contact us.


Spotts Fain publications are provided as an educational service and are not meant to be and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers with particular needs on specific issues should retain the services of competent counsel.

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