Copyright Small Claims Bill Introduced

December 14, 2017
Post by Brandon W. Clark

Copyright owners are one step closer to being able to pursue copyright infringement actions through a copyright small claims system. A new bipartisan House bill has introduced the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2017 (“CASE Act”). The CASE Act, H.R. 3945, was recently introduced by Congressional representatives to create a small claims court within the US Copyright Office, allowing copyright holders to present a claim before claim officers. It is sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), and co-sponsored by representatives Doug Collins (R-GA), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Ted Lieu (D-CA).

The proposed legislation would amend the Copyright Act to establish the Copyright Claims Board (“CCB”), which would hear and decide smaller-scale copyright disputes. Copyright enforcement is often a very difficult and costly undertaking for copyright owners and this is intended to make that process easier. The damages awarded through this system would be limited to $15,000 per work, or $30,000 total.

If a copyright owner was seeking damages of more than $30,000, they’d need to file a copyright infringement claim through the existing federal court process. Proponents of the bill claim it would allow independent copyright owners to pursue remedies while avoiding the cost, complexity, and burden imposed by federal court litigation while opponents of the bill see it as a potential flood-gate to an increase of fraudulent copyright claims and the abuse of copyright laws.

While the CASE Act still has a number of obstacles to overcome this is an indicator that updates to the Copyright Act are on the horizon. You can read the full text of the bill for yourself at the following link:

Brandon W. Clark is the Chair of the Copyright, Entertainment & Media Law Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information, please visit or contact Brandon directly via email at

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