Copyright Claims Board Basics
What is the CASE Act?
The CASE Act is the acronym for the bill called the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act” (the “CASE Act”) that created the three-“judge” tribunal called the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) within the U.S. Copyright Office to handle certain types of small copyright claims.
What is a “Claimant”?
In a case before the CCB, a “claimant” is the person or entity that initiates the case. A claimant is similar to a plaintiff in federal court.
What is a “Respondent”?
In a case before the CCB, a “respondent” is the person or entity the claimant brings a claim against. A respondent is similar to a defendant in a civil action in federal court.
What is considered a “small” claim?
Unlike in federal court, where statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work are available, the CCB limits statutory damage awards to $15,000 per work. In addition, damages are limited to $30,000 per proceeding before the CCB. If a party believes they have suffered harm is excess of these limits, the case may be better suited for federal court.
What is the Copyright Claims Board or CCB?
The CCB is a three-“judge” tribunal established by the CASE Act for resolving certain types of small copyright disputes. The CCB is housed within the U.S. Copyright Office, in Washington, DC. Although the CCB is located in DC participation in a case before the CCB is entirely remote and does not require travel.
What’s the difference between a Copyright Claims Officer and a Copyright Claims Attorney?
Copyright Claims Officers (CCO) are the “judges” that make up the CCB. They are responsible for reviewing the facts of the dispute and issuing a decision based on the law. The Copyright Claims Attorneys (CCA) are not the same as the CCOs. The CCA’s are responsible for reviewing claims brought by claimants to ensure they meet the requirements, assisting the CCOs, and assisting members of the public with respect to the procedures and requirements of the CCB.
Will parties have to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in a case before the Copyright Claims Board?
No, parties will not have to travel to the Copyright Office to participate in a CCB proceeding. Participation in a case before the CCB is entirely remote and will be conducted primarily through written submissions. In most cases, a hearing will not be necessary; however, if a hearing is held, it will be held remotely and facilitated via the web or teleconference.
Are parties required to hire an attorney to participate in a case before the Copyright Claims Board?
No. While hiring an attorney is an option, the CCB process is designed to be much more simplified and streamlined than the federal court to enable creators and users of copyrighted works to represent themselves without an attorney. In addition, parties may be assisted by qualified pro bono legal clinics at law schools.
Why is participation in a case before the Copyright Claims Board optional?
The small claims process is 100% optional. Since the Copyright Claims Board is within the U.S. Copyright Office instead of federal court, the Constitution requires that the process be voluntary. This means that when a claim is brought before the CCB, the respondent can opt out if they do not wish to participate. When a respondent opts out, the CCB proceeding is terminated.