“this new legislation will create a forum called the Copyright Claims Board within the U.S. Copyright Office to hear copyright claims of up to $15,000 per claim and an aggregate of $30,000. The cost of bringing a claim will range between a minimum of $100 and a maximum of the filing cost of an action in federal district court (currently $350), and the claims will be heard by a panel of three Copyright Claims Officers appointed by the Librarian of Congress, at least two of whom must have experience representing both owners and users of copyrighted works. The legislation ultimately ensures that individual content creators and other copyright owners who depend on copyright for their livelihoods but can’t afford the costs of protracted litigation gain access to justice.”
Why is the small claims process important?
Because federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright, and federal litigation is so expensive, many professional creators and small businesses simply cannot afford to defend their rights when someone infringes their copyrighted works. Visual artists, authors and songwriters are hurt the most by the high cost of federal litigation because the individual value of their works or transactions is often too low to warrant the expense of litigation and most attorneys won’t even consider taking these small cases. As a result, these infringements regularly go unchallenged, leading many creators to feel disenfranchised by the copyright system. In effect, these creators have rights but no remedies.
In the words of Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger,
“Copyright law should protect all creators, but the unfortunate fact is that it only protects those who can afford the high costs of federal court and legal representation. With the average cost of federal litigation at $400,000, pursuing a remedy for their rights is impossible for most authors—even the best-selling ones. The CASE Act changes this by providing authors with a voluntary, inexpensive and streamlined alternative that they can use to protect their rights, their creativity and their livelihoods.”
You can learn more about the CASE Act here at the Copyright Alliance's Q&A.
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