In this article...

In this article we will be reviewing Copyright Updates Under the CASE Act and How It Can Help Local Artists answer the questions of:

  • What is the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement “CASE” Act?
  • What is the Copyright Claims Board (CCB)?
  • What does the CCB Do?
  • Who Appoints the CCB?
  • Who is Eligible to Serve on the CCB?
  • How Long Do the Officer’s Terms Last?
  • What Type of Claim Can One Bring a Claim to the CCB?
  • What is the Claims Process?
  • Are There Limits to the Amount One Can Collect Under the CASE Act?
  • Do You Have to Participate in a CCB Proceeding?
  • What is the Proceeding Process?
  • Do You Have to Participate in a CCB Proceeding?
  • What if I Fail to Opt-out of the CCB Process?
  • Why Should I Participate in the CCB Process?
  • What If I Receive Fraudulent Claims or Defenses?
  • Who Is Responsible for Legal Fees?
  • How Does the CASE Act Benefit Artists?

In this article we will be reviewing Copyright Updates Under the CASE Act and How It Can Help Local Artists answer the questions of:

  • What is the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement “CASE” Act?
  • What is the Copyright Claims Board (CCB)?
  • What does the CCB Do?
  • Who Appoints the CCB?
  • Who is Eligible to Serve on the CCB?
  • How Long Do the Officer’s Terms Last?
  • What Type of Claim Can One Bring a Claim to the CCB?
  • What is the Claims Process?
  • Are There Limits to the Amount One Can Collect Under the CASE Act?
  • Do You Have to Participate in a CCB Proceeding?
  • What is the Proceeding Process?
  • Do You Have to Participate in a CCB Proceeding?
  • What if I Fail to Opt-out of the CCB Process?
  • Why Should I Participate in the CCB Process?
  • What If I Receive Fraudulent Claims or Defenses?
  • Who Is Responsible for Legal Fees?
  • How Does the CASE Act Benefit Artists?

 

Artists are constantly weary of having their work product used without permission but have been limited to lengthy federal cases when they have found violations. The federal trial system can take a very long time and can be expensive. To make access to justice more readily available Congress recently enacted the CASE Act.

What is the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement “CASE” Act?

The CASE Act is a piece of legislation which creates an alternative venue for copyright holders to bring forth violation claims. The CASE Act establishes a three-member tribunal to handle small claims related to the alleged violations of copyrights.

What is the Copyright Claims Board (CCB)?

The Copyright Claims Board is the quasi-judicial tribunal created under the CASE Act that will consist of three Copyright Claims Officers.

 

What does the CCB Do?

The CCB is tasked with presiding over small claims cases that arise within the realm of copyright violations which are not pending or decided by any court of competent jurisdiction and do not involve any foreign entities.  

Who Appoints the CCB?

The CCB is appointed by the Library of Congress and based on recommendations by the register of copyrights.

Who is Eligible to Serve as Copyright Claims Officers?

There will be three Copyrights Claims Officers appointed. All three officers must be licensed attorney with seven or more years of legal experience, with two of the professionals having “substantial experience in the evaluation, litigation, or adjudication of copyright infringement claims” on the side of both media owners and users. The third Copyright Claims Officer must have substantial familiarity with copyright law and have experience with alternative dispute resolution.

There is also a provision which allows for the at least two full-time attorneys, with three or more years of copyright-law experience apiece, to act as assistance to the CCB Officers.

How Long Do the Officer’s Terms Last?

A claim officer’s term will last 6 years. The first and second appointments will receive 4- and 5-year terms, respectively.

What Type of Claim Can One Bring a Claim to the CCB?

Under the CASE Act, the CCB can hear three types of claims:

  1. Creators can bring infringement claims against those who are infringing their works;
  2. Users can request that the CCB issue a declaration of non-infringement stating that their activity does not infringe the copyright owner’s exclusive rights; and
  3. Users who received a DMCA takedown notice can challenge that notice if they believe it contains some form of misrepresentation relating to the alleged infringing activity. Creators who sent a DMCA takedown notice and then received a counternotice may also challenge that counternotice if they believe the counternotice contains some form of misrepresentation relating to material that was removed.

The CBB has been authorized to hear matters that are brought by either the content creators or proper users.

 

What is the Claims Process?

The process before the CCB is aimed to mirror a small claims court. Any person alleging a violation that falls into the categories above may bring a complaint and serve it upon the alleged offending party. Upon service, the alleged offender will have an opportunity respond to the allegations. The tribunal will then arrange for a hearing date and the parties will conduct

Are There Limits to the Amount One Can Collect Under the CASE Act?

Yes, damages are capped at $15,000 for each timely registered work under the Copyright Act. In an instance where the work was not timely registered, damages are capped at $7,500. The CASE Act limits damages to $30,000 per case, not including legal fees.

Do You Have to Participate in a CCB Proceeding?

No. CCB proceedings are done by voluntary participation. A party has the option to send notice to the CCB that they are opting out of the CCB process.

What if I Fail to Opt-out of the CCB Process?

Failure to opt-out of the CCB process within appropriate time frame will cause you to waive your right to a federal trial.

Why Should I Participate in the CCB Process?

By participating in the CCB process you automatically cap your total liability. A federal copyright case carries a potential fine of $150,000 per infringed work, the CCB has a maximum penalty of $30,000 per case. Additionally, the CCB process is intended to be a streamlined process which may not require in person appearances and a limited discovery scope and time. The use of the CCB is intended to cut back on the length of some copyright disputes and accrued attorney fees.  If you choose to opt-out you are still subject to litigation within the federal court system.

What If I Receive Fraudulent Claims or Defenses?

Bad faith or fraudulent claims are subject to outright dismissal. If a litigant is found to have acted in bad faith, the CCB has the authority to award legal fees to the other party up to $5,000 or more in extraordinary circumstances, bar any additional filings from the bad faith actor for one year, and dismiss all pending cases filed by the bad faith litigant.

 

Who Is Responsible for Legal Fees?

Generally legal fees are borne by the litigants that have accrued those fees. Under the Copyright Act, those fees can be shifted from the prevailing party to the violating party if they are found to be in violation of the Copyright Act.

How Does the CASE Act Benefit Artists?

This Act is designed to increase the efficiency and minimize the cost related to pursuing claims of copyright violations. The CCB is aimed at increasing availability to the legal system by not requiring opening a full federal case to be opened. Smaller artists that otherwise could not afford the legal costs, fees, and time commitment required to bring a federal case to judgment.

 


Posted 
February 23, 2021
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