If you own a website, you could be subject to claims of copyright infringement which could result in costly litigation. You can protect yourself against such claims, if you follow the safe harbor guidelines of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Copyright infringement occurs when a person uses the creative work of another, such as a picture or an article, without that person’s permission. Anyone who wants to use the material of another in any way must seek the permission of the person who created the work.
The DMCA can shield you from certain copyright liability. The DMCA will protect website owners when the infringing content is placed on the website by third parties (by people other than the website’s owner). This would apply to you if you have a blog and allow others to upload content and photographs or if you subscribe to IDX where third-party information is contained on your website.
To protect yourself against claims of copyright infringement, follow these DMCA safe harbor guidelines:
- You must register electronically with the U.S. Copyright Office and designate an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement.The agent can be you or anyone who agrees to be the designated agent.To complete the filing yourself, go to https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/onlinesp/NPR/index.html for the Copyright Office Video Tutorials to learn how to register.The U.S. Copyright Office charges a fee to file.
- You must post on your website the required DMCA Notice and your designated agent’s contact information. Please see below for a sample of the DMCA Notice. Your DMCA Notice should be included in a conspicuous place on your website.You can simply call it “DMCA Notice” and have it as a click through to the full notice statement.
- You must promptly remove from your website any infringing material as soon as your designated agent receives a request of the lawful copyright holder.
Copyright infringement is a very serious and costly offense. To take full advantage of the DMCA protections, please immediately register with the U.S. Copyright office and include the DMCA Notice on your website. Be sure to follow all of its requirements.