Copyright Compendium

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2312 Designation of Agent to Receive Notifications of Alleged Infringement Under Section 512 (C) of the Copyright Act

2312 Designation of Agent to Receive Notifications of Alleged Infringement Under Section 512 (C) of the Copyright Act


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) provides safe harbors from copyright infringement liability for online service providers. In order to qualify for safe harbor protection, certain kinds of service providers – ” for example, those that allow users to post or store material on their systems, and search engines, directories, and other information location tools – ” must designate an agent to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement.



To designate an agent, a service provider must do two things: (1) make certain contact information for the agent available to the public on its website; and (2) provide the same information to the U.S. Copyright Office, which maintains a centralized online directory of designated agent contact information for public use. The service provider must also ensure that this information is up to date.


In 2016, the Office introduced an online registration system and electronically generated directory to replace its prior paper-based system and directory. As of December 1, 2016, the Office no longer accepts paper designations. To designate an agent, a service provider must register with and use the Office’s online system. Use of the online system is governed by 37 C.F.R. § 201.38, which also sets forth what is required of service providers to remain compliant with Section 512 (C) (2).


More information is available on the Office’s website. From there, one can access the Office’s directory, create or login to a registration account to designate an agent, review regulations, watch video tutorials demonstrating how to use the system, read answers to frequently asked questions about the system, or contact the Office with any questions.