FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 28, 2020
Thomas Maddrey, ASMP General Counsel
The CASE Act Is Now Law; ASMP Thanks Supporters
New Forum for Small Copyright Disputes Helps All Photographers and Creators
The multi-year quest by the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and its allies in the creative community to create a small claims tribunal has reached a successful conclusion. Yesterday, the President signed into law the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act) as part of an omnibus and stimulus funding bill.
ASMP applauds the efforts of the many members of Congress who were critical to the process that led to congressional approval of the CASE Act, including but certainly not limited to Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), and Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI).
The enactment into law of the CASE Act marks the successful culmination of perhaps the most extensive and longest legislative effort in the history of ASMP. The CASE act will create a fair, cost-effective, and streamlined venue in which ASMP members and the creative community as a whole can seek relief for modest copyright infringement claims.
The legislation addresses a longstanding inequity in copyright law that all too often leaves photographers and other small business owners with rights but no remedies when their works are infringed — without regard to how egregious and widespread the infringement may be. This fundamental unfairness stems from the fact it is currently prohibitively expensive and burdensome for copyright owners to bring and maintain a lawsuit in that federal courts which have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright cases.
Despite the CASE Act now being enacted into law, ASMP’s work is far from done. Among other things, we will educate ASMP members about the contents of the new law and how to work within the new venue to protect their rights. This will include participating in the various upcoming, critical rulemaking sessions that under the law that will help to elaborate on how the new small claims system will operate. Further, ASMP will encourage law schools around the country to develop programs that will enable students to represent parties before the new tribunal on a pro bono basis.
About ASMP: The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) is the premier trade association for the most respected photographers across the worlds of advertising, magazines, photojournalism, architectural photography, portraiture, sports, fashion, entertainment, fine art, video/film, and beyond. ASMP is the leader in providing extensive education and resources to photographers on the best practices to run and grow a business in these fields, promoting the rights of photographers through a robust program of legal and public policy advocacy, connecting member photographers with clients, and producing business publications for photographers that set the industry standards. The organization exists because the work of these visual creators is so important to our economy and our culture. Founded in October of 1944, with a storied history that is an integral and pivotal part of the progression of photography as a profession, industry, and cultural force, ASMP is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year with nearly 3,500 members and 38 chapters.