REMINDER: Deadline to Re-Register Your DMCA Agent is December 31, 2017

November 08, 2017
Post by Brandon W. Clark

As previously discussed on this blog (Copyright Office Establishes New Electronic DMCA Agent Registration), the U.S. Copyright Office has recently enacted changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor registration process. As part of the new system, the Copyright Office is requiring any service provider that designated an agent in the old paper-based system to submit a new designation using the online registration by December 31, 2017.

Section 512 of the DMCA provides safe harbors to shield online service providers from certain claims for copyright infringement based on user generated content transmitted, cached, stored, referred, or linked on their website, app, or other online service. An online service provider can enjoy the safe harbor of the DMCA so long as it (i) does not have actual knowledge that the material is infringing, (ii) is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent, and (iii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material.


Does this apply to you?

You should consider taking action if:

  1. You previously registered a DMCA agent using the old paper system prior to December 1, 2016;
  2. You have a DMCA take-down policy in the Terms of Service for your online service; and/or
  3. Your online service stores, transmits, caches, refers, or links content generated by users, including websites that allow users to post, upload, or display text, photos, videos, audio, etc. If users can upload any content to your website, app, or other online service, you are an “online service provider” under the DMCA and should protect yourself with the DMCA safe harbor.


What are the changes?

  1. You must register online by December 31, 2017. Registration can be completed at the DMCA Website.
  2. DMCA agent registrations are no longer perpetual, you must renew your registration every three years.
  3. You must now pay a small fee every three years. The fee associated with DMCA agent registration has actually decreased under the new system but you are now required to pay the fee at each three-year renewal.

Online service providers which host user content should strongly consider registration, or re-registration, of their DMCA agent with the Copyright Office’s new electronic system. Failure to do so may cause the service provider to lose the protection of the DMCA safe harbor.

Brandon W. Clark is the Chair of the Copyright, Entertainment & Media Law Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information, please visit or contact Brandon directly via email at

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