This Bill Could Help Independent Music Creators Fight Infringement Without Going Broke
"A Federal court action can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring to fruition, while small creators report that most infringements are valued at $3,000 or less," Yahoo reports. - Conversations In Advocay #54
A new bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans would create a copyright small claims court that would help independent music creators protect their work.
The Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) of 2019 was reintroduced on May 1, 2019 in the House Of Representatives by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA)—two recent GRAMMYs on the Hill honorees—and, for the first time, introduced in the Senate by Senators John Kennedy (R-LA,) Thom Tillis (R-NC,) Dick Durbin (D-IL,) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The House bill has a total of 8 bipartisan co-sponsors, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) along with Reps. Roby (R-Ala.), Johnson (R-Ga.), Cline (R-Va.), Chu (D-Calif.), Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Lieu (D-Calif.).
If passed, the bill would allow creators without the resources to engage in expensive litigation the opportunity to protect their work. Without a small claims court, creators are forced to try to fight infringement in federal court, which can get expensive.
The U.S. Copyright office, which would house the new small claims court, adds that for some creators who would like to fight small damages, going to federal court may not be reasonable. "While a copyright owner may want to stop an infringement that has caused a relatively small amount of economic damage, that owner may be dissuaded from filing a lawsuit because the prospect of a modest recovery may not justify the potentially large expense of litigation," the office states on its website.
Under the language of the CASE Act, damages in the small claims court would be capped at $30,000 per case. Participation would be voluntary, and claimants can initiate action without a lawyer and even without being present. The The Recording Academy strongly supports the CASE Act, which would benefit countless songwriters, performers and studio professionals. During District Advocate Day in 2018, members of the Academy across the country lobbied their representatives in support of the bill. Although the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the CASE Act last year, it was never brought up for a vote before the 115th Congress adjourned, necessitating its reintroduction.