Industry & Advocacy News
September 11, 2019
On September 10, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee voted
unanimously in favor of H.R. 2426, the Copyright Alternatives in Small-Claims
Enforcement Act of 2019 (the “CASE” Act). The bill has already passed the
Senate Judiciary Committee (also without opposition), and the next step is for
the bill to go before both the entire House and Senate for a vote.
The CASE Act will create a copyright small claims court for
creators and small business owners who can’t afford to protect their
copyrighted works in federal court. There is currently no way for authors and
other creators to enforce their copyrights, which are the basis of their
livelihoods, since federal litigation costs at least several hundred thousand
dollars, a sum which most individual creators cannot afford and few
infringement claims could justify. The CASE Act will create an affordable small
claims tribunal to fix that, giving copyright holders a real and viable remedy
for infringements. A similar system in place in the U.K. has proven to
successfully provide a way for creators to negotiate with people and entities
who are willing to license the works at issue (especially where the alternative
is a legal dispute).
The CASE Act was approved as the House Judiciary Committee’s
last vote of the night. Because of the lateness of the hour, Chair Rep. Jerome
Nadler (D-NY) and the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), cut their
comments short and agreed to make them part of the Committee’s written record.
Co-Sponsor Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), however, took time to speak about the vital
importance of copyright to creators, and the impact of copyright protection on
their ability to pay the bills. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) voiced her support for
the CASE Act and her willingness to work with the bill’s drafters to help the
bill pass the Senate.
While this is a wonderful development and a sign of real progress, there is still more work to do and outreach to be made. Representatives and Senators still need to know that writers and other creators among their constituents support this bill.
Learn how to reach out to your representatives to ask them to support the CASE Act>>