Business owners operating websites, apps, or other online services that transmit, cache, store, or link to user generated content have until December 31, 2017 to comply with recent changes made by the U.S. Copyright Office to its safe harbor registration process. Failure to comply can expose businesses to copyright infringement claims, which in some instances can be $150,000 per infringement.
Under 17 U.S.C. §512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), website operators must designate an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringements. The old system relied on paper filings in order to take advantage of these safe harbor protections. However, any designations made under the old system expire on December 31st, 2017, and if a designation is not made using the new electronic system is not made by that date, safe harbor protection will lapse. For a more detailed explanation of the regulation and the potential copyright infringement liability website owners can be exposed to if protection is allowed to lapse, check out this post from the blog. The new system can be accessed here.
With this deadline looming and the New Year approaching, now would be a good time to make sure that your website's Terms of Service include a DMCA take-down policy.