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Why The CASE Act Works For Everyone From Musicians To The General Public
Momentum for the Copyright Alternative Small Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) has been mounting for months, and the bill's most recent win was passing 410-6 in the House of Representatives. But a faction of anti-copyright advocates have continued to publicize misleading positions on how the CASE Act will affect copyright infringement protection even after it received broad, bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. As the bill moves to the Senate, their posturing could delay the bill as they work with Senators, like Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), to prevent a vote.
The truth is the CASE Act stands to simplify and streamline the process for creators to defend their work against infringement, not to stifle fair copyright use, deny free expression or enable copyright troll harassment, as critics of the bill have erroneously claimed.
— GRAMMY Advocacy (@GRAMMYAdvocacy) October 21, 2019
In fact, copyright trolling, 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. The bill provides respondents with the opportunity to opt out of any case and grants the Copyright Claim Board 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 if the claimant is found to be acting in bad faith.
But what’s not erroneous is the relief that the CASE Act will deliver to a legion of creators and small businesses. The CASE Act serves as a huge help for musicians in so many ways beyond its protection from trolling by making it cheaper and quicker to file copyright infringement claims to protect their work. Also, by capping damages at $30,000, the bill empowers musicians who cannot afford the expensive legal fees associated with Federal court action.
The music community has rallied behind the CASE Act, with Recording Academy Chief Industry, Government & Member Relations Officer Daryl Friedman calling the latest passage in the House, "Another victory for music creators almost exactly a year after the Music Modernization Act was signed into law.” Friedman also underscores the critical next steps for the bill.
“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,” he told Complete Music Update.
And music creators are not the only type of creators who will benefit. Everyone from photographers to filmmakers to creative small business owners will be able to efficiently protect what they create – and for many of these members of the independent creative community, relatively low stakes copyright infringement can be high stakes to their survival.
"The biggest challenge is how expensive and complex it is to fight infringement in federal court," Lisa Dillon and Brian Welsh wrote in The Bend Bulletin’s guest column. The article, titled "Oregon creators deserve the CASE Act," directly addresses those constituents represented by Sen. Wyden.
"If an infringer is incompliant to your attempt to get reimbursed for your work, it’s virtually impossible for a solo-creator or small biz to have any real legal recourse," they continued, adding, "This bill is truly a no-brainer."
— GRAMMY Advocacy (@GRAMMYAdvocacy) September 11, 2019
And it is. Because ultimately, the general public stands to benefit from the passage of the CASE Act. As our country and our world move ever-faster into the internet age, the bill benefits all because it allows for fair protection of creators' work by establishing more efficient process to enforce infringement, not because it changes any of the free speech rights or laws that are essential to our democracy. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-8), who is a sponsor of the bill, answers criticism that the act threatens free speech online.
"The internet has provided many benefits to society. It is a wonderful thing, but it cannot be allowed to function as if it is the Wild West with absolutely no rules," Rep. Jeffries told The Verge. "We have seen that there are bad actors throughout society and the world who take advantage of the internet as a platform in a variety of ways. We cannot allow it."
He added, "The Internet doesn't change the Constitution."
With the CASE Act primed for a vote in the Senate, now is the time to contact your Senators and urge them to support all creators by co-sponsoring the act. Creators, copyright users and end users alike will thank you.