@keithkup: Why is No One Talking About this Provision of the CASE Act? It’s Because It Benefits Users of Copyrighted Works

[Google shilleries are shifting into overdrive to attack the copyright small claims legislation–Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Engine have launched their FUD campaign (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) to create their usual maelstrom of half truths and outright fraud against consumers as directed by their corporate masters from Silicon Valley. The truth doesn’t fit the narrative.]

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (the CASE Act), H.R. 2426 and S. 1273, a bill that would create an optional small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office, was introduced by Congress in May 2019. Before that, it had been introduced in different forms in prior Congresses as well. Over that time, and especially this year, just about every aspect of the bill has been held under a microscope, poked and prodded and discussed ad nauseum. There has been so much analysis and discussion of the provisions of the CASE Act that it’s hard to believe that there could possibly be some aspect of the bill that has gone unnoticed. But in fact, there is one aspect of the bill that has largely gone undiscussed. It’s time for that to change….

Anti-copyright groups like EFF, Public Knowledge and Engine counter that these protections are essentially ineffective because most of the recipients of takedown notices are individuals who do not have the money to sue in federal court [2] and because these recipients are often too afraid to file DMCA counter-notices because of the requirement in the DMCA that the counter-notice include a “statement that the subscriber consents to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located.…” [3] As a result, these groups argue that, despite the statutory protections and defenses afforded to recipients under the DMCA, the DMCA takedown process is being misused because users with meritorious fair use and misrepresentation claims are not able to avail themselves of them.

If only there were a solution for this—perhaps some legislation in Congress that might help address these concerns. In fact, there is and it’s called the CASE Act, a bill that would create an optional small claims tribunal to resolve the following types of claims by both copyright owners and users of copyrighted material…

Read the post on the Copyright Alliance blog.



May 1, 2019, Washington, DC. The Songwriters Guild of America, Inc. (SGA), America’s largest and longest established songwriter and composer organization run solely by creators themselves, today applauded Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) for their introduction of the “Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2019”.

“SGA has been actively advocating for this important legislation for well over a decade,” states hit songwriter and SGA president Rick Carnes, “and we are gratified and thankful that the CASE Act co-sponsors have taken the lead in pushing to make the crucial protections this bill would provide for music creators a reality.”

It has long been SGA’s position, dating back to active advocacy which began prior to 2008, that a small claims system is an indispensable step toward helping music creators and other authors to regain the ability to enforce their rights against infringers in a cost-effective way. The organization believes that the new bill strikes the proper balance between consumers and creators, establishing an alternative, opt-in arbitration system to resolve copyright infringement cases, without necessitating the time and expense to creators of filing a formal lawsuit.

“How many times,” Carnes continued, “have you heard someone say, ‘let’s not a make a Federal case out of this’? Everyone knows that the enormous cost and energy it takes to prosecute a case in Federal Court is beyond the means of most citizens, and rarely makes financial sense, except as to those rare claims for damages in the millions of dollars. But ‘making a Federal case of it’ is exactly what an individual songwriter must currently do under the law if his or her song is used without permission and infringed.”

Carnes recalled with great dismay the day he first saw his songs being streamed on YouTube, Spotify and other digital distribution networks without consent, and realized the futility of sending take-down notices to protect his rights. According to him, when he sent the notices, another unlicensed copy appeared within minutes of the first one being taken down. And then another. And another.

Faced with playing an unwinnable game of ‘Whack-a-mole’ with infringers, Carnes stated, “I realized that my only other recourse was to file an infringement case in Federal Court which would, ages later, likely end up costing massively more than I could ever collect in damages. The average cost to bring a single, full-blown copyright infringement claim today is estimated to approach $350,000 in legal fees.

At the same time, statutory damages for such infringements are currently capped under the U.S. Copyright Act at less than half that amount per title! The Copyright law is useless to songwriters when the cost of enforcement of our rights far exceeds the compensatory damages able to be recovered against infringers. Every American should have the right to protect his or her property, whether a lawnmower, a bicycle, a photograph, or a song.”

SGA believes it is long past time for Congress to give music creators a viable way to seek fair remedies when the rights of songwriters, composers and authors are violated, and thanked Representatives Jeffries and the other co-sponsors for standing up for the smallest of small US business people: American Songwriters. SGA also expressed thanks and support for the US Copyright Office, which will oversee the implementation of the Act upon its enactment.

“The modernization process that is taking place at the Copyright Office is what makes possible the fair benefits this bill will provide to the American creative community,” concluded Carnes. “We need to get behind the message that a strong US Copyright Office, with proper resources to manage all of its programs, is something that benefits both every American, and the advancement of American culture itself. We hope it will never be necessary for the Copyright Office to limit the scope and size of the small claims system due to underfunding or otherwise, and we intend to work on that issue with the Register and on Capitol Hill as a regular part of SGA’s legislative activities and initiatives in Washington, DC.”

The Songwriters Guild is @SGAWrites and Rick Carnes is @RickCarnes

@copyright4u: The BIG Deal About Copyright Small Claims

On September 21st, the Copyright Society of the USA, the Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention, and the Copyright Alliance co-sponsored The Big Deal About Copyright Small Claims — a discussion on the role of a small claims process as a possible alternative for certain types of copyright litigation….

Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) delivered the opening remarks. Both lawmakers highlighted a few key points: (1) protecting intellectual property is a bipartisan issue and (2) “middle class” creators rely on copyright to protect their work and to earn a living, but (3) the current legal framework leaves individual creators, who often lack the financial resources to sue in federal court, devoid of an effective remedy for infringement. The solution? In July, Rep. Jeffries, along with Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) introduced H.R. 5757, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2016, which proposes, as an alternative to federal court, a voluntary small claims process where damages would be capped at $30,000. Rep. Chu said in her remarks that she is also working on legislation and hopes to share draft language in the near future….

Rick Carnes, a songwriter out of Nashville and President of the Songwriters Guild of America, has had plenty of experience with the misperception that creative works are free for the taking. He explained that although it’s frustrating to see his work constantly infringed online, the cost and complexity of litigation under the current system “just doesn’t work” for individual artists like himself. He believes that “a simplified system that will solve these problems is in everybody’s best interest.”

Nancy Wolff, partner at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, added that in the UK, which has its own copyright small claims system, the process gets used less than one might think. Why? The easier it is for creators to protect their work, the more careful people are about how they use others’ content, and the simple fact that such a streamlined process exists encourages parties on both sides to come to an agreement.

Read the post on Medium.