WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus leadership and House Judiciary Committee, introduced a bipartisan piece of legislation designed to help artists, photographers, movie directors, musicians, songwriters, authors and other creators protect their work from unauthorized reproduction.
The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2016, H.R. 5757, which is co-sponsored by Republican Congressman Tom Marino (PA-10), would create a Copyright Claims Board (“CCB”) in order to provide a simple, quick and less expensive forum for copyright owners to enforce their intellectual property. The majority of the copyright owners that are affected are independent creators with small copyright infringement claims. While not replacing district court, the CCB provides an alternative forum for copyright owners to protect their work from infringement.
Representative Jeffries said: “The establishment of the CCB is critical for the creative middle class who deserve to benefit from the fruits of their labor. Copyright enforcement is essential to ensure that these artists, writers, musicians, and other creators are able to commercialize their creative work in order to earn a livelihood. H.R. 5757 will enable copyright holders to enforce their copyrights in a fair, timely and less expensive forum. I look forward to working with Representative Marino on this important legislation.”
Representative Marino said: “For the past 4 years, my colleagues and I in the House Judiciary Committee have tirelessly reviewed our copyright laws. Now, it is time to start moving forward with legislative measures that reflect the lessons we have learned in the context of that review. The bill Mr. Jefferies and I introduced will help the Copyright Office to better serve content users and creators. Providing a voluntary process to resolve small copyright disputes will result in increased registration, proper licensing and less infringement. This is good for our economy, it is good for the creative community, and it is good for the Copyright Office.”
Participation in the CCB is voluntary, and respondents have the ability to opt out. The CCB will be housed within the U.S. Copyright Office, and its jurisdiction is limited to civil copyright cases with a cap of $30,000 in damages. A panel of three Copyright Claims Officers will be designated to adjudicate and settle copyright claims. The simplified proceedings do not require the parties to appear in-person and permit them to proceed pro se – i.e. without an attorney.