A lawyer I know passed sent me a link to an article by Brian Wassom titled, “You’re responsible for copyright infringement by others on your website – unless you’ve done this.” Brian Wassom is a partner and the chair of the Social, Mobile and Emerging Media Practice Group at the law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. In the Michigan legal world, that’s an impressive position.
Essentially, the article states that the only way for website owners to legally shield themselves from liability is to follow the steps outlined in the law, which includes registering a contact person for the website who will be responsible for handling copyright infringement requests. The registration fee is $105, payable to the United States Copyright office.
Mr. Wassom states that a website owner cannot go back and retroactively follow the law after copyright infringement has been claimed. So if you have a website that hosts other people’s content, this article is definitely worth your while.