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WASHINGTON, D.C. – When Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act” back in May, the Congressmen presented it as a way 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.”

As you can see on the list of organizations that support the CASE Act published by its Congressional co-sponsors, the CASE Act also enjoys a great deal of backing from industry associations representing photographers, musicians, authors and other creators of expressive works.

On its face, it’s easy to see why the CASE Act appeals to people who feel that copyright infringement is running amok in the Internet Age. The Act would create an “alternative dispute resolution for copyright small claims” through a “Copyright Claims Board,” enabling rightsholders to seek compensation for infringements on their work without facing the expense and complication of ‘traditional’ copyright litigation.

Under the Act, statutory damage awards would be limited to $15,000 per work infringed with respect to works that have been “timely registered” with the Copyright Office and capped at $7500 for unregistered works — both of which are far less than the $150,000 maximum statutory damages available per infringement on a duly registered work in a federal copyright lawsuit. (Claimants can also seek actual damages in addition to the statutory damages.) The total damages available in any single proceeding before the Copyright Claims Board would be capped at $30,000.


Gene Zorkin has been covering legal and political issues for various adult publications (and under a variety of different pen names) since 2002.