Could copyright owners soon have a streamlined legal alternative to defending their intellectual property?
This week Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) introduced H.R. 5757, dubbed the CASE Act (Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement), which seeks to establish an “efficient forum” to resolve "small copyright claims." The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA).
The bill, largely based on draft legislation from the Copyright Office’s 2013 Report on Copyright Small Claims, seeks to help copyright owners without the resources to pursue federal copyright actions. Specifically, it would establish tribunals administered by a “Copyright Claims Board” consisting of three officers (which would be appointed by the Librarian of Congress) and two attorneys (to be appointed by the Register of Copyrights). Participation in any tribunal established under the proposed law would be voluntary, and would not impinge on a party’s right to a jury trial.
In a release supporting the bill, Authors Guild executive director Mary Rasenberger, said the guild has been pushing such an alternative for years.
“This legislation will finally provide authors with a means of enforcing their rights,” she said. “On an individual level, the inability to enforce one’s rights undermines the economic incentive to continue investing in the creation of new works,” she added, and “on a collective level, the inability to enforce rights corrodes respect for the rule of law and deprives society of the benefit of new and expressive works of authorship.”