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Guidelines For DMCA Agents

University of Missouri Procedure on Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

The following procedures implement University of Missouri enforcement of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, sections (512)(c)(1), (512)(e)(1)(C), and especially (512)(g). Other documents on this site implement other aspects of the DMCA, including: designation of central DMCA Agent, identifying the DMCA agent on websites, and warning users of penalties for infringing copyright. The following procedures, including use of the central DMCA agent, should prove expedient to all concerned in handling other varieties of intellectual property dispute besides copyright.

  1. The University's registered DMCA agent will receive claims of infringement. Claims may come from inside or outside the University. The law requires such claims to contain certain information including location of infringing materials.
  2. The DMCA Agent should promptly acknowledge receipt of each infringement claim. DMCA (512)(c)(3)(B)(ii) requires that if the claim fails to comply substantially in supplying information, the service provider should promptly attempt to contact the person making the notification or take other reasonable steps to assist in the receipt of notification that substantially complies.
        Do not in this acknowledgement affirm or deny the correctness of the claim.
  3. The registered DMCA agent will coordinate activities, keep records required to track repeat offenses, and assure proper closure of all incidents. The DMCA Agent and those acting for the DMCA Agent must be careful to:
    • protect rights of intellectual property owners as defined by law, University of Missouri policy, and accepted standards of academic behavior;
    • protect rights and due process of those accused of infringement--particularly if Fair Use protection may apply;
    • generally support the authorized instruction, research, and service missions of the University; and
    • check with UM General Counsel and the registered DMCA agent when any question arises in pursuing the above.
  4. In terms of University reaction, there are roughly three levels of materials subject to claims of intellectual property infringement.
    1. Beyond the messenger role defined by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the University is not obligated to assist in counter claims involving materials or activities not essential to University missions.
    2. For materials used for authorized instruction, research, service, or journalism, the University may have a stake in assisting its members. Also, the DMCA defines special treatment for these.
    3. For materials or activities created typically by University staff in support of University business, the University would not typically enjoy DMCA legal protections. Nevertheless, the centralized coordination and other DMCA procedures listed in this policy should prove expedient for all concerned. University officers should promptly determine whether the material or activity merits withdrawal or defense.
  5. On receipt of an acceptably complete claim of infringement, DMCA (512) (g) requires the registered agent to direct prompt removal of material or removal of all local or wide-area network access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing. This take-down may proceed regardless of fees paid to University agencies. This take-down must impact essential University activities as little as possible in effecting immediate compliance, and must arrange that University agents can restore the material or activity.
  6. The registered University agent or the agent's delegate will take reasonable steps to promptly notify the subscriber/user of the take-down. This notice will specify information required to make a counter claim, and other information explaining applicable due process rights. Click the area below for a form letter notifying a University member of infringement. You should combine this with the content of the claim notice. You may also be prudent to serve this notice also by telephone, the postal service, or a face-to-face visit.
  7. If the subscriber/user files a DMCA counter-claim through the registered University agent, then the University will restore materials or access if both: (a) the University has not received notice of a court order regarding these materials or activities, in the manner and time that the law defines; and (b) if the registered University agent judges that the material does not pose significant legal risk which the University is unwilling to support, and that the material positively fulfills University missions and standards of acceptable use.
  8. Regarding this latter judgment, the institution may lose DMCA protection (under DMCA (512)(e)(1)(C)) if within the preceding 3-year period it has received more than two notifications of claimed infringement by a faculty member or graduate student in teaching or research. The University may lose liability protection for even the first infraction for non-teaching, non-research materials made for the University. Materials that do not serve a University mission may pose more risk than perquisite value. Thus, the University may require broad reduction of technology access as part of containment or disciplinary measures for repeat problems.

A University committee is refining the above guidelines for UM DMCA agents.

The DMCA Agent and delegates should read DMCA Title II, Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, available via the Library of Congress DMCA page, Other reading:

Reviewed 2019-08-05