Copyright Safe Harbor Portal for Tech Services

Copyright Safe HarborIf you develop apps for third parties, or even if you simply link third party content within your website or app, you should be aware of a new registration portal created by the U.S. Copyright Office to take advantage of the copyright safe harbor from infringement liability.

Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”) provides a safe harbor from copyright infringement liability for online service providers that merely host third party content. These days, that is almost every commercial website and app. Technology services companies that host websites and apps should, therefore, take note of the new portal.

Under the DMCA, in order to take advantage of the safe harbor, online service providers are required to name a designated agent to receive copyright infringement notices and make that information public on the website. Until now, agent designations were required to be filed with the Copyright Office on a paper form. Effective December 1, 2016, all new agent designations must be submitted via a new electronic filing system. The new system is public, searchable a public, searchable, and much more user-friendly than the previous paper system.

Service providers are required to timely update information in the online system when it has changed and agent designations will expire after three years. Failure to keep this information current can invalidate the copyright safe harbor for online service providers.

Additionally, the online system substantially reduces the cost to register a DMCA designated agent. The Copyright Office has reduced the fee from $105 (and up) to a flat fee of $6 per designation.

While the agent designation filing is only one of many conditions and requirements that a service provider must satisfy to be entitled to the copyright safe harbor, it has become much easier to satisfy the agent designation requirement. If you have questions or concerns about copyrights and your website or app, please call us at 407-792-0790.

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