You have questions. We have answers. If we don’t cover your question below, drop us a message through the Contact page on the menu above.
Q. Does the DMCA protect me if I post the offending content?
A. NO! The DMCA safe harbor immunity only applies to situations where an independent user of a website or app has uploaded the offending content. If the owner or an employee uploads the content, then there is no immunity. If “the Zuck” uploads infringing material to Facebook, the DMCA will not protect the site because of his position with the company. If I upload offending material to Facebook, the DMCA will protect Facebook because I am not employed by the company. Speak with a lawyer if you are unclear on this distinction. It is important.
Q: Do I need a third party to be my agent?
A: No. You can do it yourself. However, you need to understand something important. If you act as the agent, your name, email address, and phone number will be available online for all to see since it will be registered in the public database of agents maintained by the Copyright Office and disclosed on your site or app. At a minimum, you are looking at a tsunami of email spam and sales calls. In a worst-case scenario, weirdos can start contacting you or show up at your door. And when we say “weirdos,” we’re not even talking about your creepy Uncle Chuck.
Q. What does it cost?
A: $70 a year. The charge is for the full year and not refunded should you change your mind halfway through the year. We will contact you roughly a month before the renewal date to see if you wish to continue for another year. If you decide not to renew, disregard the person who keeps calling in the middle of the night and hanging up when you pick up the phone. Totally not us. On an unrelated topic, have you seen Fatal Attraction?
Q. I thought the fee was $60 a year?
A: It was. And gas was once 50 cents a gallon. Gas costs more now, and so do we as of February 2017. Just know the extra $10 goes to keeping my trophy girlfriends knee deep in fake fur and lip gloss – a noble cause if ever there was one.
Q. Is the service available to individuals or businesses in the European Union?
A: Nyet! Sorry, but the cost of complying with the General Data Protection Regulation is far more than the revenues we would generate from offering the service to parties in the EU.
Q. How many domains or apps can I use you as an agent for with the service?
A: As many as you like, but you’ll have to pay accordingly. The $70 fee covers one company with up to a total of 20 domains/apps. If you have ten companies, the cost is $700 a year. If you have a million companies…CALL US NOW.
Q: Does the $70 cover the fee charged by the Copyright Office for registering a DMCA agent?
A: Yes. The Copyright Office now requires each DMCA agent registration be renewed every three years, and we’ll also cover that fee if you are still using us as an agent in three years. Before you start to think too highly of us, you should know the registration fee is $6. Still, this puts us miles ahead of your smartphone provider when it comes to customer service.
Q. Can I use a Post Office box as my business address?
A: No…with a caveat mentioned below. The Copyright Office specifically states [you are a service provider]:
“Q. What information must be made available on a service provider’s website [or app] and provided to the Copyright Office to designate an agent?
Answer: A service provider is required to supply its full legal name, physical street address (not a post office box), any alternate names used by the service provider, and the name, organization, physical mail address (street address or post office box), telephone number, and email address of its designated agent.”
Just to be clear, this policy means the following information for your business must appear in the online database and where the DMCA agent information is listed on your site or app:
Your Business Name, LLC or Inc.
Your real street address
Your real city, state, and zip [or relevant country info]
All protected properties
Bob Smith, LLC
123 Street Lane
San Diego, California 92014
How To Eat Yummy Worms App
Obviously, this is a problem if you work from home, promote sensitive content…or eat worms. The Copyright Office recognizes the potential problem but doesn’t provide a great solution – you can petition for the right to use a post office box. Specifically, the Copyright Office states:
“Question: Are there any circumstances under which I can provide a P.O. Box for the service provider’s address?
Yes, but only with prior approval of the Copyright Office, which will only be given upon written request and in exceptional circumstances, such where there is a demonstrable threat to an individual’s personal safety or security, such that it may be dangerous to publicly publish a street address where such individual can be located. To obtain a waiver, the service provider must send a signed letter, addressed to the “U.S. Copyright Office, Office of the General Counsel” and sent to the address for time-sensitive requests set forth in 37 C.F.R. 201.1(c)(1), containing the following information: (1) the name of the service provider; (2) the post office box address that the service provider wishes to use; (3) a detailed statement providing the reasons supporting the request, with explanation of the specific threat(s) to an individual’s personal safety or security; and (4) an email address and/or physical mail address for any responsive correspondence from the Office. There is no fee associated with making this request. If the request is approved, the service provider may display the post office box address on its website and will receive instructions from the Office as to how to complete the Office’s electronic registration process.”
Nobody is entirely sure what “exceptional circumstances” means, but there isn’t any drawback to at least trying to get permission other than you have to wait for a response. The Copyright Office is not known for being particularly quick, but the attorney in charge of reviewing the petitions is proving to be pretty reasonable.
You can find the mailing address for the petition by doing a Google search for “37 C.F.R. 201.1(c)(1).” We don’t list the address here because it might change in the future and we sure as hell aren’t checking the Code of Federal Regulations each week for updates!
Q: Do you evaluate the DMCA takedown notices?
A: No. We simply forward the notices to you. You then evaluate them on your own or speak with legal counsel. The response to such a notice must occur within 24 to 48 hours, so you need to have a plan in place. This guide can help.
Q. Can you recommend an attorney to help me?
A. No. We hope to have an attorney directory in the future, but we don’t currently recommend anyone in particular. You should search for an “internet lawyer” in your area on the search engines to identify potential counsel.
Q. Will you act as an agent for porn sites?
A. After much internal debate, we no longer take porn sites as clients. Trying to explain that we don’t own or participate in “Barbara’sButteryBreasts.com” to grandma at Thanksgiving got old quickly. And the holy water she kept “accidentally spilling” on us burned. It burned bad!
Q. Shouldn’t it be “take down” notice instead of “takedown” notice?
A. Yes, but we are talking about the law here, so it doesn’t have to make sense. Everyone uses “takedown,” and we intend to follow along with the herd on this one. If it bothers you, pretend the phrase is Latin.
Q. Do you know the winning numbers for the next Powerball Lottery?
A. No, but we’re partial to 3, 11, 18, 27, 35, and 67. Remember us if you win.