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Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act

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The Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (1998) is a federal United States law that added section 512 to the Copyright law in Title 17 of the United States Code (Public Law No. 105-304, 112 Stat. 2860, 2877). This provision of the Copyright Act allows copyright holders to seek redress from internet service providers ISPs if the copyright holder discovers that an infringing user has posted information on any website maintained by the ISP. It is a powerful extra-judicial device for the protection of copyright on the internet for ISPs that are located in the United States, though many foreign ISPs may also respond to such requests for fear of litigation in the United States should they have any significant business interests in the U.S.

The provision allows for the creation of a Designated Agent If the ISP wishes to benefit from the provisions of the act it can do so "only if the service provider has designated an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement". by making the designated agent available through its service, by including on its website in a location accessible to the public, and by providing to the Copyright Office, the following information: (A) the name, address, phone number, and electronic mail address of the agent; (B) other contact information which the Register of Copyrights may deem appropriate.

If an infringement has occurred a notification of claimed infringement must be a written communication provided to the designated agent of a service provider that includes substantially the following:

(i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

(ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.

(iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.

(iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.

(v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

(vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Section 512 provides for notice to the alleged infringer and a ten day response period at which point the infringer has the right to refute the allegations of infringer. If the allegations are not refuted, the ISP must remove the material or make the web pages unaccessible to the public. If the allegations are properly refuted under the procedure the ISP need not remove the offending materials.

If the allegations are improperly refuted but accepted by the ISP the copyright holder must file suit, however the perjurous statements of the infringer may create serious civil and criminal liability issues should they falsely deny infringement.

The Interim Designation of a Registered Agent (you can find the form below) is to be filed with the United States Copyright Office and must be accompanied by a $30 fee, payable to the Register of Copyrights. If mailed, the Interim Designation should be addressed to: Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Southwest Station, Washington, D.C. 20024. An ISP may also file the Interim Designation by hand, by delivering to the Public Information Office of the Copyright Office, Room LM-401, James Madison Memorial Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C., during normal business hours, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Designations and amendments are posted online on the Copyright Office website.

See also: Wikipedia's designated agent, Digital Millennium Copyright Act

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