On October 31, 2016, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a new rule instituting an electronic system for the designation of copyright agents, which is required to take advantage of the safe harbor from copyright infringement for online service providers under 17 U.S.C. § 512(c).  For purposes of § 512, any entity that provides an online service (such as a website, email service, discussion forum, or chat room) generally would qualify as an online service provider.  A copyright agent is typically the individual at the online service provider for which contact information is provided in order to receive the various notices provided under § 512.
Under the new system, which takes effect on December 1, 2016, all online service providers seeking safe harbor under § 512(c), including those that have previously designated an agent with the Copyright Office, are required to submit designations through the electronic system. Entities that previously designated a copyright agent via the paper system must submit a new designation through the electronic system by December 31, 2017. Failure to do so will negate the safe harbor from copyright infringement liability established by § 512(c). Designations also must be renewed at least once every three years. (The current paper-based system does not require renewal.) The fee for registration and subsequent renewal(s) is set at US$6 per designation.