The safe harbor protections of the DMCA are not granted automatically. Online businesses must actively seek out the protection and, even then, you can lose DMCA immunity if you are not careful. Losing your immunity is an unmitigated disaster, particularly since you’ve been operating under the belief it was in place. Let’s take a look at three ways websites and apps lose their DMCA immunity.
Losing DMCA Immunity
You aren’t required to do all that much under the DMCA to gain safe harbor protection. The devil is often in the details, and more than a few people and companies have messed up these steps to their detriment. When we see situations go sideways, the client has usually made an obvious error of the type described in the video. For example, you are inviting a lawsuit if you don’t publish the agent information on your site or app. Every copyright lawyer knows an online business must designate an agent and the agent’s information must appear on the site or app. If yours is missing, the error will be obvious and will likely generate a lawsuit since the DMCA protections are waived. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this case. To lose DMCA immunity for such a simple mistake is unimaginable.
Educate yourself on the DMCA. Know precisely what you must do to comply with the law. Then take each step. Don’t cut corners. Don’t apply your own unique interpretation. Copyright law is not an area where you want to be getting creative. Follow the rules. Don’t wait until the first complaint comes in and panic. Get ready beforehand and do a few test runs, so you have a process that works seamlessly.
If you have any lingering doubts, let me put them to rest. Let’s assume one of your users uploads a copyrighted movie to your site. You will not be held liable for copyright or ordered to pay any damages if you are compliant with the DMCA. However, you could face liability and a judgment of $300,000 or more if you are not in compliance with the DMCA.
Bad boy, bad boy…whatcha gonna do?