CASE Act Passes US House of Representatives
Guest post by Chris Eggertsen
The bill intending to streamline copyright disputes now heads to the Senate.
The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act passed 410-6 in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday evening (Oct. 22). It now goes to the Senate for a vote before it can become law.
If successful, the CASE Act will create a copyright claims board within the U.S. Copyright Office to rule on small claims infringement cases where damages would be capped at $15,000 per claim and $30,000 total.
The bill would give independent creators a practical way to enforce their rights without the burden of hiring an attorney to fight the infringement in federal court. Cases would be decided by a three-judge panel of subject matter experts inside the Copyright Office, who will hear only straightforward cases of the alleged infringement. It includes a provision in which the Copyright Office will monitor the process in order to ensure it is not being used as a tool of harassment, according to a recent House press release.
The non-profit Copyright Alliance is applauding the U.S. House of Representatives for its overwhelming passage of the CASE Act on Tuesday evening (Oct. 22), echoing numerous advocates of the landmark copyright bill that will make it easier and less expensive for independent creators to fight copyright infringement.
"The Recording Academy applauds the House for passing the CASE Act today, another victory for music creators almost exactly a year after the Music Modernization Act was signed into law,” said Daryl Friedman, chief industry, government, & member relations officer for the Recording Academy, in a statement. “We also thank the nearly 2,000 Recording Academy members who lobbied their legislators this month for the CASE Act. We now look to the Senate and the White House to get this bill into law and ensure music makers have access to the copyright protection they deserve."
Added Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid: "The CASE Act continues to be a legislative priority for hundreds of thousands of photographers, illustrators, graphic artists, songwriters, authors, bloggers, YouTubers and other types of creators and small businesses across the country. These creators are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, they currently have rights but no means to enforce them because federal court is too expensive and complex to navigate.
“Today’s vote by the House demonstrates not only the tremendous support for the bill but also the fact that members of Congress could not be bamboozled into believing the numerous falsehoods about the CASE Act that were proffered by those who philosophically oppose any copyright legislation that will help the creative community and who will use any means to achieve their illicit goals.”
The next step for the bill will be a full vote on the floor of the Senate, where it has already been voted out of the Judiciary Committee.
The CASE Act has not been without its detractors. Among them are the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that the bill’s passage “runs the risk of creating a chilling effect” with respect to speech online. The ACLU has claimed with average internet users could potentially face thousands of dollars in fines for simply sharing a meme or other piece of copyrighted content.