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What is a DMCA Registered Agent and Why Do I Need One For My Website?

By John DiGiacomo

DMCA stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). One of the most important features of the DMCA is that it provides a “safe harbor” for website owners against being sued for copyright violations when users, commenters, and posters upload copyrighted material onto a website. For example, assume you run a website and one of your users uploads a copyrighted photograph without the permission/authorization of the copyright holder. Without the DMCA safe harbor, your website might be held liable for contributory copyright infringement.

To have the benefit of the DMCA safe harbor, a website must have a DMCA registered agent. Why? The registered agent is the person/company to whom a copyright holder can send correspondence concerning the existence of copyrighted material on a website. Most importantly, it is to the DMCA registered agent that a DMCA “takedown notice” is sent. As the name suggests, a takedown notice is a notice of copyright infringement and demands that the infringing material/content be removed (taken down). If you need legal assistance with setting up your DMCA registered agent, contact us here at Revision Legal. Call us at 231-714-0100. We are top-tier internet and social media influence attorneys specializing in internet law. Here is a brief explanation of what is needed to set up your DMCA registered agent.

With Whom is a DMCA Agent Registered?

DMCA registered agents are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. The registration is done electronically and involves providing the name of a person, company, or law firm to whom copyright-related correspondence and complaints will be sent. Registration must be renewed every three years. Electronic registration is a new requirement that began in early 2022. Failure to register a DMCA agent means that a website does not have safe harbor protection under the DMCA.

What is the Process?

The process involves finding a DMCA registered agent. As noted, this can be an individual, a company, or a law firm. Then, an account must be opened with the U.S. Copyright Office. Once opened, the website owner can then register the relevant contact information for their designated DMCA registered agent. It is possible to designate yourself as the DMCA registered agent, but the better practice is to have a third party be the registered agent. This protects your privacy since DMCA registered agent information is publicly available. Further, your DMCA will be properly focused on the task and copyright notices and complaints are not as likely to “get lost” among the rest of the mail. Contact information includes physical and email addresses. If a website chooses to be its own registered agent, a corporate office can be listed instead of an individual name. An example might be Legal @ and Legal Department, Name of Company, and street address.

The designated DMCA registered agent must also be “linked” to your website’s name and all possible alternatives and linked websites. That is, copyright holders will be using a searchable database to find your DMCA registered agent. Thus, your agent must be “linked” in the database to all the possible search combinations where applicable.

Contact Revision Legal

For more information or if you have questions about the DMCA or about protecting your trademarks, copyrights, and other intellectual property, contact the internet lawyers at Revision Legal at 231-714-0100.

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