DMCA and copyright trolls

August 7, 2014

Protect yourself from copyright trolls.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects Online Service Providers (OSPs) from copyright infringement for material uploaded by users.  You may be asking, “Why does this apply to me?”  If you run a website with an IDX feed, you are an online service provider displaying material uploaded by users.  Now, can you say with any amount of certainty, that every image in the IDX feed is free of any copyright liability?  There is only one right answer, and it isn't "yes."  Would you like to protect yourself from the predatory actions of a copyright troll that found your site and has targeted you for copyright infringement litigation?  If so, then read on.

 

Because we cannot possibly police every bit of content displayed on our sites, but the government must still enforce copyright protections for content creators, Congress passed the DMCA, which was signed into law on October 28th, 1998 by President Bill Clinton.  The DMCA provides a method for copyright holders to request their protected content be removed from unauthorized sites, while providing a safe harbor for OSPs that willingly comply with the stipulations defined within the DMCA.

 

The first step in the process is to fill out an Interim Designation of Agent to Receive Notification of Claimed Infringement.   You will need to complete the form and submit it with the appropriate filing fee.  The form should include your business' legal name, all other names you are doing business as, and all websites under your management (including agent websites).  Currently the filing fee is $105 for a single name and $35 for each additional ten names.  Once that has been completed you’ll need to add a takedown notice to all your websites so that copyright holders will know where to send their takedown requests and what information to include.  The final step is to quickly respond to any takedown requests by removing the material in question (In this case you would notify the MLS of the issue and we would remove the content from our feed).

 

The current version of the Interim Designation of Agent form can be located here: http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp/agent.pdf

 

A sample DMCA takedown notice template can be located here: http://www.columbiamls.com/#!dmca/c1lvs

 

CMLS strongly recommends that you perform due dilligence and contact your attorney to ensure that the form is completed correctly and all additional business names and web addresses have been added.

 

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