The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) directs the U.S. Copyright Office to maintain a current roster of agents who have been designated by online service providers to receive notifications of claimed infringement. From the time the DMCA was created in 1998, online service providers have submitted agent information using paper forms. A new law utilizes pervasive technology to update this antiquated practice.
The procedure had involved the Copyright Office scanning copies of the paper forms, and then posting on its website for public viewing. Information was often outdated and incorrect despite the DMCA’s requirement that service providers give the Copyright Office updates on a timely basis.
Thus, on November 1, 2016 the U.S. Copyright Office ordered a new electronic system to designate agents with the Copyright Office to go into effect December 1, 2016.
This new system will completely replace the paper-based system, to modernize it, as well as increase the efficiency of the Copyright Office. In turn, it is expected that copyright infringement claims will be addressed in a more expeditious manner.
Now that the law is in effect, all filings of agent designations must be done electronically. All previous agent designations filed with the Copyright Office must be refiled through the electronic system by December 31, 2017.
A recurring deadline is that online service providers will have to renew their filings every three years. The new system sends automatic reminders to a provider’s account contacts (this is separate from the DMCA designated agent) when it is time to renew the provider’s designated agent filing.
Service providers seem to be pleased with the new system as they found the paper system quite expensive and onerous. That was a similar complaint for the Copyright Office, considering the manual process of scanning paper forms and then posting them online.
The registration fees for this new law are $105 plus an additional $35 per group of 1-10 alternate names, to a flat $6 per registration fee (this is for registering a new designation, or amending or resubmitting a previously registered designation.)
As of December 1, 2016, the Copyright Office stopped accepting paper designation forms.
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