January 14, 2020
A bill which would create a small claims court for US copyright claims is one step closer to becoming law.
The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019, or CASE Act, has passed the House of Representatives. The bill is meant to give independent creators an affordable and accessible way to defend their intellectual property, by capping penalties at $30,000. Any defendant in these cases would have sixty days to opt out of the small claims process, forcing the plaintiff to seek legal action in Federal Court.
While the CASE Act has earned support from the American Bar Association, it has also drawn sharp criticism from a variety of sources. In particular, the ACLU has expressed opposition to the CASE Act, stating that it does not do enough to safeguard due process and free speech. It has also drawn criticism for potentially exacerbating the problem of copyright trolls. While the CASE Act is not yet law, it only needs to pass the Senate to become law, indicating that there are limited opportunities to amend the CASE Act remaining.
Authors: Sarah Stothart and Mark Leonard