Yesterday, the US Copyright Office changed its system for designating a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) agent. This change is important because properly designating an agent is required for an on-line service provider, such as a website that allows users to post content, to qualify for safe harbor protection from claims of copyright infringement. To designate an agent, the service provider must (1) provide contact information on its website, and (2) provide the same contact information to the Copyright Office.
Under the old system, a service provider mailed in a paper form designating its agent that the Copyright Office maintained indefinitely.
Under the new system (available here), agents must be designated using an on-line form instead of a paper form, and designations must be renewed every three (3) years. If you previously submitted a paper form, you have until December 31, 2017 to submit a new designation on-line and to maintain the continuity of the safe harbor.
Given that designations expire after three (3) years, we suggest that each service provider calendar a renewal notice.
updated on 12/6