CASE Act

Support Independent Music Creators’ Rights

 

As the only organization championing the voices of music creators in Washington, the Recording Academy strongly supports the 2019 CASE Act “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019” (H.R. 2426; S. 1273).

What Is the CASE Act?

Many independent artists and songwriters don’t have the unlimited resources to protect their work against infringement and theft, despite copyright protection being a constitutional right for all creators. The CASE Act would improve upon this unfair system by establishing a small claims court for copyright cases through a three-“judge” tribunal called the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) within the U.S. Copyright Office. This would be a voluntary alternative to expensive litigation that few in the industry have the resources for.

Support for the bill is growing and bipartisan, with more than 150 Congressional co-sponsors and a long list of industry organizations backing the legislation as it makes its way through Capitol Hill. The broad support the bill has attracted is a testament to its strength and necessity.

Why Is the CASE Act Needed?

Because federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright, and federal litigation is so expensive, many professional creators and small businesses simply cannot afford to defend their rights when someone infringes their copyrighted works. Songwriters are one of the most impacted by the high cost of federal litigation because the individual value of their works or transactions is often too low to warrant the expense of litigation and most attorneys won’t even consider taking these small cases. As a result, these infringements regularly go unchallenged, leading many creators to feel disenfranchised by the copyright system. In effect, these creators have rights but no remedies.

 

 

“We think it’s critical that the copyright system works for everyone, not just huge corporations, but individual creators and small businesses that are really the backbone of our creative system.”
— Karyn Temple, Register of Copyrights and Director, United States Copyright Office

 

 

Creation of a copyright small claims system is supported by the U.S. Copyright Office, which made the recommendation in a 2013 Congressionally-mandated policy study.

What’s Next for the CASE Act?

The House version of the CASE Act passed the full House of Representatives on October 22, 2019. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee on September 11, 2019. 

The Senate version of the CASE Act has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 18, 2019. This bill is waiting for a vote in front of the full Senate.

News About the CASE Act