CASE Act

Support Independent Music Creators’ Rights

 

As the only organization championing the voices of music creators in Washington, the Recording Academy strongly supported the  “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2019” (H.R. 2426; S.1273). As part of Congress’ annual appropriations package, the CASE Act was signed into law in December 2020.

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 improved 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 voluntary alternative to expensive litigation that few in the industry have the resources for helped leveled the playing field for all creators.

The CASE Act was championed by more than 150 bipartisan Congressional co-sponsors and a long list of industry organizations. It originally passed the House of Representatives 410-6 in 2019.

Why Does the CASE Act Matter?

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 went unchallenged, leading many creators to feel disenfranchised by the copyright system. In effect, these creators had 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, Former Register of Copyrights and Director, United States Copyright Office

 

 

Creation of a copyright small claims system was originally recommended by the U.S. Copyright Office in 2013 as part of a  Congressionally-mandated policy study.

News About the CASE Act