Eric is an illustrator and cartoonist in San Diego, California, and creates graphic novels. His graphic novels are registered and published in print. Eric discovered that someone had scanned his entire printed graphic novel, Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships, and was offering it for free digital download on a website that had many infringed comics, web comics, and graphic novels.
Other rights-holders had sent DMCA takedown notices to the website, resulting in the infringers responding by reposting their DMCA takedown notices with snide and defiant comments added, such as “You can’t do anything about it.” Unfortunately, the infringers knew that individual creators cannot do anything to enforce their rights.
Eric would have sought legal recourse if he’d been able to sue the infringer, so that he could enforce having his work removed from the infringer’s website, destroy the unauthorized digital file and collect actual damages including a licensing fee for usage and potential lost profits from the number of illegal downloads. However, taking his copyright claim to federal court was cost-prohibitive to an independent creator like Eric.
So, what can artists do when they can’t afford to enforce their copyrighted works in court? A feasible solution is the creation of a copyright small claims court. Through a Small Claims court, Eric would have had the option to seek legal help and sue the website without spending a tremendous amount of money on the cost of litigation. It would create a simplified tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office to handle small copyright claims brought by creators and small businesses across the country, helping them to enforce their rights.
This blog tells the story of countless U.S. creators, who currently have rights but no remedies when it comes to protecting their works. With federal court being both complex and expensive, most creators don’t have the means to defend their creations from a legal perspective. That’s why they need the CASE Act, legislation that calls for the establishment of a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office. Learn more here about the CASE Act, and how it would benefit creators across the country!
We urge you to contact your congressman/woman, and tell them why this bill is so important. Your support will give small creators the tools to protect their work.
Photo Credit: scyther5/iStock/thinkstock