On November 11, 2019, USEA News provided commentary on copyright infringement liability nonprofits face based on a Venable alert, "'Tis the Season: Act in Time, or Your Nonprofit Will Say Goodbye to Any DMCA Safe Harbor Protection from Copyright Infringement Liability," by Linda Zirkelbach, Ron Jacobs, Cindy Lewin, Andrew Steinberg, and Danae Tinelli.
According to the article, members and/or third parties posting content on a nonprofit's website could prove a hindrance to an organization if it doesn't renew its Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Designated Agent designation with the Federal Copyright Office.
"Under U.S. copyright law, if a third party uploads or posts copyrighted material to your website (often referred to as 'user-generated content'), and the third party did not have authorization to do so from the copyright owner/exclusive licensee, your nonprofit can be held strictly liable for copyright infringement. This is the case even if your nonprofit did not know the material was infringing," the alert said.
"Any nonprofit that may have previously qualified for the safe harbor from liability for copyright infringement under Section 512 of the DMCA will lose any ability to claim this safe harbor if the nonprofit does not renew its designation of agent within three years of the last online filing (or amendment)," the alert said. "This is coming up soon, assuming your nonprofit did this correctly between December 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017."