Section 512 of the Copyright Act provides a safe harbor for Internet service providers whose systems are used to transmit content created by third parties which infringes on copyrights. The provisions apply not only to common-carrier like services that merely transmit third-party content, but also to websites and other digital services that allow users to post material onto the service provider’s own sites – services like YouTube or Facebook whose very businesses are built on the ability of individuals to posting material on their sites. We’ve written about the safe harbor recently (see our articles here and here). The safe harbor requires, among other things, that the service provider not encourage the posting of infringing content on the site, but also that it take-down infringing material found on the site, and that it provide a “Designated Agent” for service of “take-down notices” – requests from copyright holders that infringing material be taken down from the site. That agent must be identified both on the website of the service and registered with the Copyright Office. The Copyright Office today announced rules for a new electronic system for registering such Agents.
We wrote about the Copyright Office’s proposal advanced 5 years ago for the new system, and it appears that it has now become a reality. Currently, service providers register a Designated Agent on a paper form filed with the Copyright Office, which the Copyright Office scans as a PDF file that is uploaded, individually, onto the Copyright Office’s website. Many felt that this system was clumsy and did not provide the information necessary for the take-down system to work efficiently, as it was difficult to search and was often full of outdated information. The new electronic system adopted by the Copyright Office and effective on December 1, is expected to remedy many of these complaints.
Continue Reading Copyright Office Announces Rules for New Electronic Filing System for Service Provider’s Designated Agents for Take-Down Notices Under Section 512 Safe Harbor for User-Generated Content