Cross-posted from copyrightalliance.org.
By Terrica Carrington, Copyright Alliance Copyright Counsel
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. The event took place on Capitol Hill and featured speakers representing various players across the copyright community, including creators, publishers, law professors, and even lawmakers.
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.
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