How to determine if you need a DMCA agent

Creators of works such as songs, software, books, articles, photographs, and much more can protect their work against republishing, reproduction, and redistribution. Hence the term, copyrighted work. The Federal Copyright Act protects copyright Holders of different intellectual properties. The Act defines the conditions within which an infringement to the rights of the creator are met. 

The emergence and growth of the internet paved the way for the introduction of online services providers. Due to the amount of content redistributed on various online platforms, there is a need for safe harbor protection of online services providers. 

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a safe harbor for online service providers under specific situations or if certain conditions are satisfied. 

Highlighted below is how to determine if you need a DMCA agent. 

Do users post material on your website?

The current digital space provides room for website owners to create interactive portfolios for their users. Through such platforms, users can share content such as stories, videos, photographs, essays, among other personal works. 

If your website fits into the above criteria, there is a high probability that some members of your audience might upload copyrighted contents that are not their intellectual properties. Hence, creating the need for a DMCA agent. 

A DMCA agent such as provides an avenue where owners whose intellectual properties have been infringed by your audience can launch complaints. Any complainer with issues on content posted on your website; has to raise the complaint in writing to the agent. Upon receipt of the complaint, the agent will determine whether the objection is legally confining and the next course of action to be taken. 

Do users store material on your website?

Pinterest is an excellent example of a website where users store material spanning thousands of topics, including style, home ideas, recipes, and much more. Daily, the site encounters millions of images worth of different inspirations. It would, therefore, make them a costly verification process to distinguish between original and copyrighted content stored and shared by their users. 

For sites such as Pinterest, a simple End User License Agreement (EULA) does not offer enough protection on copyright infringement. Just like in the case of users posting material, websites that store material needs DCMA agents that offer full protection from copyright infringements. 

Do you provide related or affiliated online services that are separate legal entities? 

Finally, there is a possibility of an online services provider offering related or affiliated services on the same portfolio, which can be treated as separate legal entities. We can take an example of a site that utilizes user-generated content to promote two different niches hosted on the same platform. 

If the two different niches are considered as separate legal entities, then they will need to subscribe to DMCA agents for protection on copyright infringement separately. A violation of the copyrights of different intellectual property owners by one of the services on the same platform is, therefore, addressed individually.

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