The “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019” (the CASE Act), S. 1273, was initiated to create a “small claims court” within the U.S. Copyright Office to handle certain copyright disputes. Federal courts have had exclusive jurisdiction over copyright, and federal litigation is expensive and complex to navigate. Most professional creators and small businesses cannot afford to enforce their rights when someone infringes their copyrighted works. The CASE Act is intended to address these obstacles by creating a voluntary and affordable alternative to federal court for small copyright claims.
In fact, S. 1273 is the culmination of years of Congressional deliberation, U.S. Copyright Office research and expertise, stakeholder input, and advocacy from individual creators and small businesses on the issue, as well as negotiations to address concerns with previous versions of the bill. Following a 2-year study during which the U.S. Copyright Office received a total of 107 substantive comments over the course of three separate comment periods, and held several public hearings across the country, the Office issued a comprehensive report to Congress in September 2013 recommending the creation of a voluntary copyright small claims process. The report included draft legislation, the bulk of which is incorporated into S. 1273.
Following the CASE Act being passed overwhelmingly in the House by a vote of 410-6 and following the Senate Judiciary Committee reporting out the bill by unanimous voice vote, it was finally passed by Congress on December 21, 2020 via an IP package contained within the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.
Check out the links below to stay informed about the CASE Act, including statements and other information: