If your company hosts or operates an interactive website that allows users to post or upload materials, you need to have a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policy. A DMCA policy gives copyright owners the opportunity to complain if material posted on your website by a user infringes their copyright. So long as you comply with the terms of a properly designed policy, your company will be shielded from liability for hosting a website that displays infringing materials.

For those companies that already have published DMCA policies, a recent change in the law will require you to take steps in the near future to preserve your safe harbor protection. One of the requirements to be eligible for the safe harbor is that companies submit a form to the US Copyright Office identifying the name and contact information of the person designated to receive copyright takedown notices. Effective December 1, 2016, the original designation form has been replaced with a new online system for registration of designated agents. Here are some crucial facts about the transition to this new system:

To summarize – if your company allows third parties to post materials on a website you control, you need a DMCA policy to protect you from liability in the event a user posts materials that infringe someone’s copyright. If you already have a DMCA policy in place, please act promptly to update the designation of your agent to receive takedown notices so your safe harbor will remain protected.

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