The DMCA is a boon for online operators of websites, apps, and other platforms. The law provides you with immunity from copyright infringement claims based on the content uploaded by your users. This immunity comes with a cost. To maintain the protection, you must designate an agent to handle complaints. Let’s take a closer look at the DMCA agent requirements.
The first issue to consider is whether a DMCA agent must be located in the United States or not? There is nothing in the code per se setting a specific geographic location. A quick review of the agent registrations in the online directory maintained by the Copyright Office, however, reveals nearly every agent listed is located in the U.S.
Why is this?
The answer is found in a practical consideration. The DMCA requires that the agent potentially receive copyright complaints in the physical mail. At the same time, the law sets forth specific deadlines of as little as 48 hours for a site owner to process and send out appropriate notifications. Meeting these deadlines while using the postal service is difficult for a person located outside of the United States, so many businesses use an agent based in the country.
The DMCA sets forth the information that must be listed with an agent designation. The key provision reads:
(2) Designated agent. – …by making available through its service, including on its website in a location accessible to the public, and by providing to the Copyright Office, substantially the following information:
(A) the name, address, phone number, and electronic mail address of the agent.
(B) other contact information which the Register of Copyrights may deem appropriate.
The Copyright Office also requires that the name and address of the online operator be included in the public information as well as the facsimile number of the DMCA agent.
Form and Fees
The DMCA agent information should be listed in a DMCA policy on your website, app or another intended platform. The agent must then be registered with the Copyright Office. The filing fee is $6. The filing must be renewed every three years for $6.
There are also practical concerns associated with selecting and registering a DMCA agent. The person in question will be listed in a public database with all their contact information. This publicity raises concerns ranging from identity theft to email spam to endless phone solicitations. You may not care about such concerns. If, however, you do, feel free to contact us regarding our DMCA agent service.