Firms Must Register By Dec. 31 for Copyright Protection

By Anne Marie DeCatsye, CEO

For years, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, CarolinaMLS has been able to serve as the designated agent for our member firms. We could register each firm as part of a group subset of CarolinaMLS.

Not anymore.

Now our member firms must register individually by Dec. 31, 2017, with the U.S. Copyright Office to maintain protection offered by the law. The DMCA exempts website owners against copyright infringement liability when material owned by a third party is posted on an owner’s website.

I’m one of about 25 MLS executives across the country who serves on the NAR MLS Advisory Board, advising NAR’s leadership team on MLS operations.

At a meeting in Chicago, we found out that the Copyright Office has instituted this new compliance requirement for registration of designated agents under DMCA. The registration process has been digitized, and the Copyright Office is requiring individual re-registration for designated agents by Dec. 31. Failure to re-register would mean loss of protection under DMCA safe harbors.

NAR officials are trying to work with the Copyright Office regarding this change but are confident that nothing will be altered before the Dec. 31 deadline.

From a risk-management perspective, it’s critical that our member firms register a designated agent with the Copyright Office for continued protection under DMCA. You can do that by going to the Copyright Office’s website, www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory, and registering to create a new account. For more information, contact Michele McCaskill at 704-940-3150 or michele.mccaskill@carolinahome.com.