Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Common MLS Issue
• Listing Agent uploads infringing photo
– Examples
• All members republish photo on IDX sites
• Copyright holder sends a demand letter to
innocent member
• Innocent member calls and yells at MLS
• MLS Rules hold listing firm accountable and
listing firm may end up paying thousands in
What is the DMCA?
Disco Song
Food Additive
Rap Group
You Be Illin’
• U.S. Copyright Law
• Exemption from direct and indirect liability for
“internet service providers”
• Case law - definition of internet service
provider encompasses a broad variety of
internet activities
• Safe harbor for “user generated content”
Internet Service Providers
• Internet Service Provider (i.e. Real Estate Firm)
shielded from liability if:
– Register with the copyright office and designate an
agent to receive “takedown notices”;
– Post DMCA notice and their designated agent’s
contact information on website; and
– Promptly remove infringing material at the request
of the lawful copyright holder.
Registering with the Copyright Office
• $105 filing fee – covers one name
• Additional $35 for group of 10 names
• MLS with 2,300 member firms
– Members registering individually = $241,500
– MLS registers as agent for all members = $8,155
• Register member firm name (not each website)
– Each website, even agent sites, contain member
firm name
How it works
• Copyright holder finds infringing photo on
member website
– Copyright trolls – crawl the web for photos
• DMCA notice posted on website
– MLS is registered agent
• Copyright holder contacts MLS
• MLS removes photo from MLS database and
IDX/VOW feed and contacts listing firm
• Everyone is happy (except the trolls)
Practical Considerations
• Contact Copyright Office
– Prefer very specific format
• Inform members and IDX/VOW vendors
– Create DMCA notice (consult with attorney)
– Prepare simple communication to members/vendors
– Need DMCA notice on member/agent websites
• Rule? IDX Policy?
– Provide HTML version to members/vendors
– Audit for compliance
Ongoing Issues for MLS
• Checking e-mail account/fax number
– Promptly address any takedown notice
– Lots of spam e-mail
• Updating member lists
– New/old members – periodic updates
– Work with Copyright Office
• Only “user-generated” content is protected
• Need full participation
• Dealing with odd issues
The contents of this slide have been removed due
to a DMCA take down notice
Five Takeaways
Discuss with attorney
Raise issue with Board of Directors
Calculate costs (and cost savings for members)
Implementation plan
– Work with Copyright Office
– Communication with members/vendors
• Ongoing maintenance plan
– Assign staff to monitor e-mail fax and audit sites
– Schedule periodic updates to member lists

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