ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Press Release: Collins, Jeffries Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Middle Class Creators from Copyright Infringement

WASHINGTON — Today, Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act. This bipartisan legislation establishes the Copyright Claims Board at the Copyright Office to make it easier and less expensive for independent creators, such as photographers, songwriters and graphic artists, to better defend their intellectual property from theft.

“The U.S. economy depends on our ability to ensure intellectual property, including copyrights, is protected,” said Collins. “The CASE Act would establish a copyright small claims court to give creators the ability to protect their livelihoods and fight back against infringement of their works. Protecting intellectual property is critical to continue growing our economy, maintaining our position as a world leader and ensuring the creative spark remains alive with current and future generations. I appreciate Congressman Jeffries’ leadership on the CASE Act and am grateful for the strong bicameral, bipartisan support this legislation is receiving, including from our chairman, Jerrold Nadler.”

“The establishment of the Copyright Claims Board is critical for the creative middle class who deserve to benefit from the fruits of their labor,” said Jeffries. “Copyright enforcement is essential to ensure that these artists, writers, musicians and other creators are able to commercialize their creative work in order to earn a livelihood. The CASE Act will enable creators to enforce copyright protected content in a fair, timely and affordable manner. This legislation is a strong step in the right direction.”

Original cosponsors include Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet; Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet; Ben Cline (R-Va.); Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.); Ted Lieu (D-Calif.); and Judy Chu (D-Calif.).

“The CASE Act will help creators and copyright holders by giving them an affordable and accessible way to vindicate their rights when others use their works without permission,” said Nadler. “I am proud to cosponsor this legislation, which I believe represents a meaningful change, especially for independent artists and small businesses.”

“I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in cosponsoring the CASE Act to ensure that individuals and small businesses alike are able to effectively safeguard their intellectual property rights,” said Roby. “Too often, due to prohibitively high costs, artists, songwriters, photographers, and other creators are unable to take action against those who violate their copyrights. I look forward to working with my colleagues to correct this problem and protect Americans’ intellectual property rights.”

“The CASE Act is a much-needed solution for copyright claims that are small in nature but nevertheless important for the copyright holders it intends to help,” said Cline. “This bill is a win for copyright owners, many of whom are small businesses, which will establish a low-cost method for copyright owners to settle claims.”

“The CASE Act will help individual creators — whose work is stolen or used without their consent and without proper compensation — seek justice,” said Johnson. “This bill represents an important step to improve the effectiveness of our copyright laws and make copyright enforcement more accessible to everyone – especially creative entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

“Hardworking artists like those in my district rely on copyright laws to protect their work from piracy,” said Lieu. “For too long, the creative middle class and independent artists with limited means have found it difficult to make legal claims of copyright infringement because it is too expensive to sue in federal court. This essentially forces them to forfeit their creative rights to their work. I am proud to work with a bipartisan group of colleagues on the CASE ACT, a bill that works to protect the rights of the hardworking artists by creating a quick and less expensive forum for small copyright owners.”

“Creators in our country depend on copyright protection to make a living,” said Chu. “But, the high costs of pursuing a federal case leaves too many creators without legal recourse when their works are used without permission. The CASE Act would address this hardship by creating a tribunal to adjudicate these claims within the Copyright Office. This is a common sense solution that will provide a true legal avenue of protection. I’m proud to cosponsor this bill to ensure that smaller and individual creators can continue contributing to the works that are a part of the fabric of our society.”

Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) are introducing companion legislation in the Senate.

“Creative ideas are your property, whether you’re a photographer or an independent movie director,” said Kennedy. “It shouldn’t cost you a fortune to protect your creativity from copyright infringement. This bill creates a legal avenue for artists to pursue copyright violations more quickly and less expensively. Louisiana’s rich culture and history are rooted in the successes of talented artists, musicians and authors. We need to make sure that Americans’ creative spirit is preserved and protected.”

“Independent artists who rely on copyright laws to protect their work play an important role in our communities, but the current system makes it difficult for them to receive damages in a cost-effective manner,” said Tillis. “This bipartisan bill will provide a more efficient way for copyright holders to protect their intellectual property and ensure that our content creators can be properly paid when their work is used without authorization.”

“I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the CASE Act, which will provide individual content creators and small businesses with the option of using a small claims Copyright Office tribunal to address infringement claims. Copyright infringements that involve several thousand dollars in damages can have a huge impact on an individual creator or small business, but claims this size are rarely brought in federal court. Our bill would create a voluntary small claims process to allow content creators to seek meaningful recourse for their small dollar claims,” said Durbin. “We have worked to make this bill fair to all participants in the copyright system, and we look forward to advancing it in both the House and Senate this Congress.”

“In its current form, the copyright system leaves no practical way for many creators to protect their rights as copyright holders. Federal district court litigation is simply too expensive and too complex for small photographers, artists, and the like to pursue valid claims against copyright infringers. The result is a system where those who rely most on their copyrighted works for their livelihoods are forced to sit back and watch while others use those copyrighted works free of charge,” said Hirono. “The CASE Act will go a long way toward fixing this situation. By creating the Copyright Claims Board, the CASE Act establishes a venue where small creators can actually enforce their intellectual property rights and finally bear the fruit of their work.”

Supporters of the CASE Act include:

  • American Association of Independent Music
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • American Photographic Artists
  • American Society for Collective Rights Licensing
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors
  • American Society of Media Photographers
  • Association of American Publishers
  • Authors Guild
  • Copyright Alliance
  • Digital Media Licensing Association
  • Dramatists Guild of America
  • Future of Music Coalition
  • Garden Communicators International
  • Graphic Artists Guild
  • Horror Writers’ Association
  • Nashville Songwriters Association International
  • National Press Photographers Association
  • National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981
  • News Media Alliance
  • North American Nature Photography Association
  • Novelists, Inc.
  • Professional Photographers of America
  • Recording Academy
  • Industry Association of America
  • Romance Writers of America
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
  • Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
  • Songwriters Guild of America

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