Protect Privacy, Avoid Spam, and Help Ensure DMCA Immunity For User Content
Phil Nicolosi Law helps protect hundreds of businesses and website operators avoid liability online. Designating a third-party DMCA agent means that take-down related communications are made through the contact information listed publicly for your designated agent, and not you or your company/organization as the listed service provider. You or your organization may prefer not to list certain contact information on a public database, which can be easily viewed. There is also the risk of missing an important notice of infringement take-down request. Designating a DMCA Agent is required by law for safe-harbor immunity against claims of copyright infringement.
For $75 each year, our law firm can act as your DMCA designated agent of record so you or your business can help ensure immunity from copyright infringement by your website/app users under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Why Choose Our DMCA Agent Service?
- We charge a low $75 USD annual service fee to designate our firm as the DMCA designated agent of record per each service provider for up to 20 websites and/or any apps or plugins. (This does not include the applicable initial filing fee, currently $6 per designation, amendment, or resubmission.
- You pay one low fee of $55 for every subsequent grouping of online properties (1 to 20 websites or apps).
- This is a yearly service that will automatically renew so you or your business has one last thing to worry about! (You will be charged $75 each calendar year (until cancellation and subject to increase).
- 24-hour communication of any DMCA Takedown Notice Requests. We forward any DMCA take-down requests we receive related to any of your websites or apps as soon as possible.
- Unlimited amount of takedown requests. We are unlike other services with pricing tiers based on the volume of requests your designated agent receives. We keep it simple-you pay one low fee each year per each grouping of 20 online properties you or your business operates.
- We provide our comprehensive DMCA Notice & Take-down Policy template for use on any of your website or apps, drafted by our law firm. (This policy also addresses repeat infringers, which is required to ensure DMCA immunity.)
Note: Our service does not include any evaluation of any notices we receive or any direct consultation or communication with you or your organization. **OPERATORS OF WEBSITES/APPS CONTAINING ADULT ORIENTED CONTENT ARE RESTRICTED FROM USING THIS SERVICE.**
What Is The DMCA Law & Why Should Website, App or Plugin Operators Care?
Website, app and plugin operators should understand who gets DMCA protection under the law. In a nutshell, any online “service provider” is eligible for protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) against copyright infringement liability. But, only if the provider follow certain steps as set forth under the DMCA, such as posting a prominent DMCA Notice & Takedown and Counter-Notice Policy which includes a policy for repeat infringers. The law also requires that service providers name/register a DMCA designated agent with the U.S. Copyright Office, as discussed more below.
Is My Company/Organization An Online “Service Provider”?
Email providers, search engines, online auction sites, host providers, chat rooms, interactive websites, news providers, etc. are all generally “service providers” that have immunity from liability for copyright infringement under the DMCA. If your online activities fall under one of four listed categories, your company is a service provider and eligible for protection under the DMCA.
Why Does My Website (Or Mobile App or Plugin) Need To Designate A DMCA Designated Agent?
The DMCA requires that website operators name and register a DMCA designated agent with the U.S. Copyright Office in order to receive immunity from third-party copyright infringement claims. The express language of the DMCA states:
(2) Designated agent. – The limitations on liability established in this subsection apply to a service provider only if the service provider has designated an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement described in paragraph (3), 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 Register of Copyrights shall maintain a current directory of agents available to the public for inspection, including through the Internet, and may require payment of a fee by service providers to cover the costs of maintaining the directory. [17 U.S.C. 512(c)]
Why Should Online Service Providers Register A Third-Party As The DMCA Designated Agent?
When the public searches for a website or app (service provider) on the DMCA Designated Agent Directory online, he or she would see the name of the service provider and their physical address, but not the service provider email or phone number. A service provider is only required to supply its full legal name, physical street address (not a post office box), any alternate names used by the service provider. Only the designated agent’s physical address and full contact information (phone number and email) is listed.This can invite all sorts of unwanted attention including becoming the recipient of a ton of spam emails if the business keeps its agent designation in-house. The point of designating a third-party DMCA agent is so that any inquiries are made through the contact information listed publicly for your designated agent and not you or your company/organization as the listed service provider. The public would not have a way to contact you or your company/organization other than by physical mail.
In addition, copyright holders have legitimate legal rights, which are protected under the DMCA. Resolving DMCA disputes in a timely manner is crucial to avoid triggering a copyright infringement lawsuit as an online service provider. Failure to designate a DMCA agent and respond/act in the manner required under the DMCA Act can result in service provider liability!
Are Online Service Providers Required To Register A Third-Party DMCA Designated Agent?
No. There is no requirement to name a third-party or use an attorney as a designated agent. You or your company can name an owner, someone within your own organization, or you can name a specific position or department within your company (i.e. “Compliance Manager” or “Compliance Department”), or a third-party individual or entity generally.
Do Foreign Companies Need To Designate A DMCA Agent?
There is no restriction on DMCA protection on foreign companies located outside of the United States. The DMCA is a federal law of the United States and does not apply to companies based outside the United States in general. However, foreign companies that do business with U.S. consumers are subject to U.S. federal laws, which makes DMCA compliance an absolute necessity for online service providers. The DMCA Designated Agent Directory maintained by the U.S. Copyright Office shows that nearly every agent is located in the U.S. The primary reason for this is international companies understand that they should utilize a local resource to act both as the agent and counsel them in handling copyright claims falling under the purview of the DMCA. DMCA compliance requires taking certain actions on a strict timeline. If you or your company fail to understand the complexities of the law, it can lead to some serious consequences. Copyright infringement damage claims can be quite costlyand any website, app or plugin operator should not run the risk of facing the prospect of having to pay an enormous sum for copyright infringement damages.
Does My Website (or App or Plugin) Need To Display A DMCA Policy?
If you are an Internet Service Provider and allow third-party content and want immunity afforded under the DMCA, then YES.
What Are Alternate Names?
Alternate names are all names that the public would be likely to use to search for the service provider’s designated agent in the Copyright Office’s online directory of designated agents, including all names under which the service provider is doing business, website names and addresses (i.e., URLs), software application names, and other commonly used names. Separate legal entities are not considered alternate names. For website addresses, the Office considers providing the top level domain (e.g., internetlegalattorney.com) sufficient to comply with Office regulations. It is not necessary to list all subdomains operated by the same service provider.
What Are The U.S. Copyright Designated Agent Filing Fees?
The U.S. Copyright Office charges a one-time fee of $6 for a service provider to list their name and a designated agent. There is no longer an additional fee for alternative names (the separate domain names or apps operated by the single service provider). There is now simply a single registration fee per each service provider. However, each separate legal entity (i.e. separate parent or subsidiary entities) are each considered to be a service provider and must pay an additional $6 fee per each separate entity. There are no renewal fees, but a $6 fee is required for any amendment.
What Are The Renewal Requirements?
A service provider’s designation will expire and become invalid three years after it is registered unless the service provider renews the designation by either amending it to correct or update all relevant information or re-submitting it without amendment to confirm nothing has changed.
Want Help With Responses to Take-Down Notices?
We can respond to all new notices of claimed infringement related to any content on your website and/or app. We discuss appropriate responses with you, and handle the process for each claim, taking the issue to a conclusion as required under the DMCA Act. Our current hourly rate is $185.00 USD for these additional DMCA related services.