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Digital Millennium Act - Online Service  

Steps for Implementation



  • The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 provides protection from litigation for online service providers.
  • The definition of an online service provider is broad, and includes schools and libraries.
  • Liability is limited for the following: transitory communications, such as electronic mail; caching; hosting Web sites; and in the use of location tools, such as search engines and hyperlinks.
  • Protection is provided only when a service provider is PASSIVE. Specifically, the service provider did not post the material, did not modify the material, and did not have knowledge that the material is infringing.
  • Several steps must be taken in order to take advantage of the protection that this act offers.

The Steps




Designate a person to act as the agent for the service provider. This person will be responsible for receiving and sending notices regarding copyright. The agent's name and address must be posted on your Web site.


2. ADVISE THE COPYRIGHT OFFICE of the agent's name and address.


A form that may be used, Interim Designation of Agent to Receive Notification of Claimed Infringement, is available on the Web. An additional form used to amend an original filing, Amended Interim Designation of Agent to Receive Notification of Claimed Infringement is also available at the same site. http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp



3. DEVELOP AND POST A POLICY for termination of the accounts of repeat offenders.




An $105 fee, made payable to the Register of Copyrights must accompany this form. Do not send cash. Send the form along with the fee to the following address:

Copyright RRP

P.O. Box 71537

Washington, D.C. 20024









This policy must be posted on your Web site along with information about copyright laws. Create a link on your home page such as "Copyright Information", and have it take you to your termination policy and copyright information as well as the information about your designated agent.

The Library of Michigan's Copyright Infringement Policy is an excellent example of such a policy. It addresses the termination of repeat offenders and provides information regarding their designated agent, as well as the content and procedure for copyright infringement notification.

The Midwest Collaborative for Library Services site has a page entitled Copyright Links which provides links to copyright Web sites. Linking to one of these copyright Web sites would be an easy way in which to fulfill the requirement to provide copyright information.










When your agent receives notice that there is infringing material on your Web site, you must take all reasonable steps to remove or disable access to the material quickly. However, a notice must meet very specific requirements in order to obligate you to act on it.








  • It must be in writing.
  • It must identify the work by title and specify what material in the work violates copyright.
  • It must specifically request that the material be taken down.
  • It must state in good faith the belief that the material is used in an unauthorized manner.
  • Only the copyright owner or a person authorized to act on the owner's behalf may file a complaint.
  • It must provide information to locate the complaining party, such as phone and fax numbers.
  • It must be signed electronically or physically.


  • You are not liable for a good faith "take down".




  • If your agent receives a counter notice to "put back" the material it must be done if specific requirements are met:
  • The notice must be in writing.
  • It must specify the location where the material used to appear.
  • It must specifically request that the material be put back.
  • It must state in good faith that the material was taken down by mistake or misidentified.
  • Only the person who posted the material or their agent may file a notice.
  • It must provide information to locate the party issuing the notice, such as phone and fax numbers.
  • It must be signed electronically or physically.

6. Ensure that your system ACCOMMODATES INDUSTRY-STANDARD TECHNICAL MEASURES used by copyright owners to identify their works or protect them from unlawful access and copyright infringement. These include passwords, fees and other protections.









The online service provider must send notice to the complaining party and must "put back" the material in 10 to 14 business days, unless the service provider has received notice that the copyright owner has filed a suit in federal district court.





Questions? Contact Evelyn W. Freeman, Consultant for Oakland Schools, at Evelyn.Freeman@oakland.k12.mi.us or 248.209.2376.

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