Decisions by the Copyright Claims Board
How do the Copyright Claims Board Officers make their decisions?
CCB Officers are bound by judicial precedent in deciding a case. This means that the CCB must follow the rules and interpretations of law that federal courts have laid out, and it cannot create its own new rules and interpretations. When there is conflicting judicial precedent—in other words, where different federal courts have different rules or interpretations regarding a certain issue of law—the CASE Act specifies that the CCB must follow the law of the federal jurisdiction where the case could have been brought if it had been filed in federal district court. In the event that the case could have been brought in more than one jurisdiction, the jurisdiction that the CCB determines has the most significant ties to the parties and conduct at issue will be controlling.
What remedies are available before the Copyright Claims Board?
In a case before the Copyright Claims Board, a party can be awarded monetary damages (including statutory damages in infringement cases). A party can also bring a case even if they are not seeking damages.
Although the CCB cannot issue an injunction, if the parties reach an agree that involves ceasing the offending activity, the CCB can include that order in its final determination. In awarding monetary damages, the CCB can also take into account whether or not a party has agreed to cease the offending activity.
Are statutory damages available before the Copyright Claims Board?
Yes, statutory damages of up to $15,000 per work are available for infringements of works that are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office either (1) within three months of publication of the work, or (2) before the infringement starts. Unlike in federal court, statutory damages (of up to $7,500) are available for infringement of works registered outside that timeframe.
Can a decision by the Copyright Claims Board be appealed to a federal court?
The CASE Act provides a limited right to appeal. A party can appeal to federal court for the following reasons:
- To challenge a CCB decision on the basis of fraud, corruption, misrepresentation, or other misconduct.
- To challenge a default judgement if the party believes it has a legitimate reason that should excuse the default.
If a party disagrees with a decision of the CCB, they can request that the CCB reconsider the case. If the CCB declines to reconsider the case, that party may then request a review by the Register of Copyrights to determine whether the CCB “abused its discretion” in denying the request for reconsideration.
Can a copyright owner bring an infringement claim before the Copyright Claims Board if they have not yet submitted a completed registration application to the Copyright Office?
No. A copyright owner cannot bring an infringement claim before the Copyright Claims Board if they have not yet submitted a completed registration application for the work to the Copyright Office. However, unlike in federal court, if a copyright has submitted a completed registration application to the Copyright Office, the copyright owner can bring a claim for infringement before the CCB while the copyright registration is still pending (but the CCB cannot make a determination in the case until the registration certificate is issued).
Can a copyright owner bring an infringement claim before the Copyright Claims Board if they have a pending registration application but the Copyright Office has not issued a registration certificate yet?
Unlike in federal court, a copyright owner can bring a claim for infringement before the CCB while the copyright registration for the work is still pending (i.e., before a registration certificate is issued). However, the CCB cannot make a determination in the case until the registration certificate is issued.