Memos, Resources

Electronic Agent Designation Required for Safe-Harbor Protections from Copyright Infringement Liability

July 10, 2017

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may be
afforded safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability if they meet certain
requirements including electronically designating an agent to receive takedown notices and
other notices of infringement. The Copyright Office has implemented a new electronic
registration process and all ISPs must file electronic agent designations with the Copyright
Office, regardless of previously filed paper designations, by December 31, 2017, or risk losing
safe harbor protections from copyright infringement liability.

All non-electronic agent designations submitted to the Copyright Office prior to December 1,
2016, will no longer be effective as of December 31, 2017. Accordingly, all ISPs who originally
filed paper agent designation registrations must now create an account through the online web
portal and submit an electronic agent designation. Under the new electronic system, the
Copyright Office will charge a flat fee of $6 per designation, regardless of the number of
alternate names included on the designation.

As of January 1, 2018, all paper designations will become invalid and only those designations
made through the online registration system will satisfy the statutory requirement for
designating an agent with the Copyright Office.

The safe harbor limitations on liability will only apply to an ISP if the ISP: (1) designates an agent
to receive notifications of claimed infringement with the Copyright Office; and (2) publishes
the agent’s contact information on their web site. ISPs must also maintain current and
accurate information, both with the Copyright Office and on their web site.

Because ISPs can be held liable as secondary copyright infringers should they lose their DMCA
safe harbor protections, VPS urges all ISPs to designate their agents using the Copyright
Office’s new electronic system as soon as possible.

If you have questions regarding this or if you would like Vantage Point’s assistance, please
Leah Richter at (605) 995-1793 or
Doug Eidahl at (605) 995-1750 or

Download the full Copyright Infringement Electronic Designation statement here.