New year brings important digital housekeeping tasks

In Association News, Missouri Press News On
- Updated

Required employment posters can be ordered from Department of Labor website

By Jean Maneke

MPA Legal Hotline

This column is brought to you courtesy of Dwight Bitikofer, of the Webster-Kirkwood Times, who pointed out to me recently that I might want to remind all of you about a change in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that you need to act on before the end of this current year (2017).

All of you with websites who allow public comments (and that is probably everyone) should have registered with the United States Copyright Office the name of an agent to receive notification of claims of copyright infringement. We talked about that in a column that ran in the MPA Press News back in April 2011. But, of course, that means that it is likely you filed this form with the office back in 2011 and haven’t thought about it since. So, first, you might want to see who you have listed at the copyright office as your agent for receipt of copyright violation notices. The contact information for that person must also be listed on your website, and so this will be a good double-check that your business’ websites all have current information for this contact.

And then, once you’ve done that, you should go through the process of completing the online registration form to file this information with the U.S. Copyright Office. Effective in December, 2016, that office will no longer accept paper copies of these notices. From now on, that information will only be accepted through their online portal and effective December 31, 2017, only the registrations done through the online system will be considered valid.

You can find more information about this portal and system at https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/ and to file a registration, you will need to create a login account (see the right hand side of the website). To reiterate, you will have to do this before the end of 2017 to protect your rights under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, so I recommend you take care of this right away.

And while you are doing this “new year” task, you might want to take a look at your employment posters – you should have up flyers in your office for a variety of notices regarding fair employment issues. This is the time of year when you get mailings from a large number of companies wanting to sell you various kinds of employment posters, threatening you with all kinds of fines and other penalties if you fail to buy them and post them.

Instead, your state government puts all these posters online for you to download and save yourself some money. You can find them all at http://labor.mo.gov/posters/ and they are free! Both state and federal posters are available there. Or you can call the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (573-751-3403) and they’ll make arrangements to mail you a poster, I believe.

Finally, let me remind you that our friends at the Missouri legislature are back in session. In coming weeks, you will be hearing regularly from MPA about the status of various bills. Please read these notices. But more than that, please know that your personal calls to your personal legislators on behalf of issues which we raise in these notices are more than critical – calls from local constituents carry far more impact than calls from the MPA staff can ever have.

And if you haven’t put the annual legislative day program on your calendar for Thursday, March 2, I hope you will do so. With a new governor in place and many other new office holders, now would be a good time to plan a trip to Jefferson City for this important event. Hoping to see you there!

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