The Copyright Alternative Small Claims Enforcement Act (CASE) of 2017 could make it easier for photographers and other artists to file and win copyright disputes.

The bipartisan bill would make it easier for musicians and artists to protect their creative work.

According to a news release, U.S. Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Tom Marino have introduced legislation that would create a Copyright Claims Board (CCB) which would essentially serve as a small claims court for copyright infringement claims.

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2017 will 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 by piracy and theft are independent creators with small copyright infringement claims. The CCB will establish an alternative forum to the Federal District Court for copyright owners to protect their work from infringement.

Participation in the CCB will be voluntary, and respondents will have the ability to opt out. The CCB will be housed within the U.S. Copyright Office, and its jurisdiction 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 will permit them to proceed pro se – i.e., without an attorney.

This is good news for photographers, writers, musicians, artists and others who create copyrighted material—and bad news for those who think it’s okay to use images and other copyright material without permission or compensation just because they find it on the internet.

Thanks to Damien Demolder for posting his article: “Congress is considering a copyright small claims bill you should know about”

For more about the issue, read “Images, Rights and Lawsuits—Oh, My!”

Jerry Clement
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