The DMCA safe harbor provisions can shield you from liability for copyright infringement in the United States. So if you allow others to post comments, photos or other content on your website, and those materials infringe another person’s copyright, you can avoid liability if you follow the DMCA procedures. This is important because if you allow someone to post material on your website, and you don’t comply with these rules, you could be liable for copyright infringement even though you did nothing improper yourself.
To obtain the protection offered under the DMCA, you need to include on your website a DMCA notice informing visitors how to contact you to notify you of the presence of infringing material on your site. You will need to designate a person who will be your agent to receive notices of infringement and register that agent with the US Copyright Office's using their new online registry system.
A sample notice for a website is reproduced below which you can borrow from to create your own notice. Where there is a blank at the end after “Copyright Agent,” fill in your name, address, email and contact info of the person you are authorizing to accept any notices. You can serve as your own agent. This notice can be included in your terms and conditions portion of your website.
Then you need to register the agent with the copyright office. Go to: https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/
There is a 6 dollar filing fee that can be paid online by credit card.
The copyright office has a help page with useful instructions at https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/help.html
Sample Notice for website:
Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement
If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please submit your complaint with this information:
- A physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest;
- A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed upon;
- A description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on the site;
- Your address, telephone number, and e-mail address;
- A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
- A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf.
Copyright Agent: ______________________