Copyright Office Plan Could Be 'Recipe for Disaster,' Attorney Says

May 25, 2016 12:26 PM PST

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Copyright Office has proposed a controversial new electronic submission process for website operators when they designate agents to receive 512(c)(3) copyright take-down notices.

The proposal, outlined in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, has critics because it would purge the list of registered DMCA agents every three years and force online companies to make timely renewals to comply with 512(c) safe harbor.

Under the DMCA, the Copyright Office is required to maintain a current directory of agents that have been designated by online service providers to receive notifications of claimed infringement.

As part of launching the electronic submission process, the proposal reduces the one-time filing fee from $105 to $6. But the $6 proposal puts a 3-year time stamp on each application.

Adult industry attorney Corey D. Silverstein told XBIZ on Wednesday the proposal, if approved, could create incidents fraught with danger.

“While the reduction of government filing fees is always a nice thing, unfortunately this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is littered with pitfalls that could be devastating to those seeking DMCA safe harbor protection,” Silverstein said. “Specifically, adding a requirement for filers to periodically renew their agent designations, could be a recipe for disaster. 

“The very notion, that an online service provider could lose DMCA safe harbor protection because it may have inadvertently forgotten to file a periodic renewal while complying with every other aspect of the DMCA will surely only lead to more complex legal battles in the courts and law-abiding service providers potentially losing DMCA safe harbor protection due to a minimal technicality.”

The Federal Register has published the proposed rule with a link for formal comment here. Comment period ends on June 24.

Pictured: Corey D. Silverstein of Law Offices of Corey D. Silverstein, P.C.

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