Trademarks, copyrights & trade secrets practice area category
Trademarks, copyrights & trade secrets practice area categoryTrademarks, copyrights & trade secrets

Copyright Small-Claims Court: Creation and Implications

General News & Firm Announcements   |   Monday, February 08, 2021

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020, or CASE Act, passed by Congress on December 21, 2020, contains several intellectual property provisions that impact U.S. Copyright law and proceedings. The CASE Act creates a copyright small claims court and increases the penalty for the unauthorized commercial streaming of copyrighted material.

The copyright small claims court called the “Copyright Claims Board,” will be established within the U.S. Copyright Office to resolve disputes valued at $30,000 or lower. The board will hear cases with damages limited to $15,000 per claim or $30,000 for the whole case. Cases before the board will enable parties to participate in their case remotely and without an attorney. As such, the board will hear cases more efficiently than federal court, where copyright cases are most commonly heard.

Advocates of the CASE Act argue that litigating cases in federal court is too expensive for many copyright holders and having the board adjudicate small claims would enable copyright holders, who normally are unable to defend their rights in federal court, to enforce such rights. However, the Act is not without its skeptics and critics. Certain groups believe a copyright small claims court will lead to the proceedings of the board being abused by copyright trolls or will chill free speech.

In addition to creating the Copyright Claims Board, the CASE Act strengthened copyright holders’ rights by increasing the punishment for the unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material for commercial purposes. Although reproducing and distributing copyrighted works is a felony, streaming such works is currently only a misdemeanor. The Act will change that by making the unauthorized streaming of copyrighted works a felony.

The CASE Act will make it unlawful to offer a streaming service for the purpose of publicly performing copyrighted works without permission for financial gain that has no other “commercially significant purpose.” Further, a violation of the CASE Act’s streaming provision will carry the penalty of up to 10 years in prison if the service’s operator knew or should have known that the work was made for a commercial public presentation.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 08, 2021 and is filed under General News & Firm Announcements, Internet Law News.






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