Sen. Durbin, Jason Mraz and Daryl Friedman meet to discuss the CASE Act
Photo: Recording Academy
The CASE Act Empowers And Protects Songwriters, So Why Is It Being Blocked?
"Have you heard? Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who also tried to block the MMA last year, has now put a hold on the CASE Act. Here's how you can help…" –Conversations In Advocacy #70
Sure, sometimes copyright law can be complicated. But some truths are simple: the current system makes it expensive and complex for creators to fight against infringement of their work in a federal court. The Copyright Alternative Small Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) seeks to fix this and empower all songwriters, artists, and creators by setting up a simpler and more streamlined small claims court. So what's holding it back?
Despite bipartisan support and championing from the music community, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who previously opposed the Music Modernization Act (MMA), has placed a hold on the CASE Act and is unwilling to compromise on this much needed copyright reform.
In a Bloomberg Law article, a Wyden spokesman stated that the Senator is holding up the bill due to the new claim board’s ability to award "virtually unappealable" infringement damages of up to $30,000 for posting memes on the internet."
In fact, copyright trolling of this kind, where the troll attempts to coerce a legitimate copyright holder or user into court by bringing frivolous claims against them, is specifically safeguarded against in the CASE Act beyond even current federal law. There are severe penalties for bad faith or frivolous claims, and the Copyright Claim Board has the authority to award attorney fees up to $5,000 to the respondent, ban the claimant from filing for a year and even dismiss all pending cases filed by the claimant. Simply put, the CASE Act creates an expensive nightmare for trolls.
And while the claim made by Sen. Wyden's spokesman is incorrect, it will not deter artists of all mediums from fighting for their rights.
For instance, in Sen. Wyden's home state of Oregon, there has been a grassroots surge of creators speaking up to help their Senator realize the importance of the CASE Act in protecting their work. It's not just songwriters who will benefit from the bill, but everyone from photographers to filmmakers to creative small business owners as well.
During October's District Advocate day, Recording Academy members met with Sen. Wyden’s office to explain the positive impact of the CASE Act. Additionally, Academy members, including former national trustee Tyler Stone and her bandmate Patrick Hinds, have met with Sen. Wyden’s district office to further explain their support of this bill in greater detail.
But the reality is the CASE Act is gaining steam. It recently passed by a landslide 410-6 vote in the House and as it moves to the Senate, support continues to grow. This past Tuesday, GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Jason Mraz met with several lawmakers, including the bill’s bipartisan lead sponsors, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), to discuss a path forward for the bill.
So what can you do to join the cause in support of equal copyright protection for all creators? Contact Sen. Wyden, who is blocking the CASE Act from a vote, to let him know you stand with the bill that will simplify and streamline the process for all creators to defend their work against infringement.