What would you do if someone showed up at your door and served notice informing you that you were being sued? Would you ignore it? Throw it away? Probably not—even if you’ve never been sued before, you know that there could be severe consequences to ignoring something like this. In reality, most people would likely read the documentation thoroughly to determine what’s going on, and what steps they should take next. Some would go online where they would find a wealth of advice encouraging them to carefully review the materials and respond in a timely manner.
Critics of the CASE Act suggest that when people are served notice of a case filed against them with the Copyright Claims Board created by the CASE Act, they are likely to simply ignore it or think it’s a part of a phishing scam because they won’t be familiar with the Copyright Claims Board. There are several flaws in this argument:
- The CASE Act’s requirements for serving notice mirror the requirements prescribed under the federal rules of civil procedure. In other words, to suggest that people are likely to ignore service under the CASE Act is to suggest that they are likely to ignore service in federal civil litigation. Just like a summons served in federal court, notice under the CASE Act must explain the consequences of ignoring the notice, and must be served along with a copy of the complaint detailing the case against them.
- There are 94 federal district courts in the United States, not to mention the numerous state courts, and other tribunals across the country. Most people are unfamiliar with each of the various courts and tribunals they may be sued in. But just because a person has never heard of a particular tribunal, does not mean they will ignore the notice or summons involving them in a case before that tribunal. Similarly, these people are unlikely to ignore the notice from the copyright claims board merely because they have not heard of it.
- Phishing scams are scams executed via email or other electronic communication. Notice under the CASE Act cannot be served electronically. Again, the notice requirement mirrors that of the federal rules of civil procedure.
- There’s no logical reason to ignore the notice since it will explain how the recipient can easily opt out of the process and terminate the case against them.
- If, for whatever reason, someone does decide to ignore the notice they are served with, the Copyright Claims Board will follow up with a second notification, again explaining the consequences of ignoring the notice. This type of follow up does not happen in other tribunals, making it less likely that a person would ignore the CASE Act notice than any other type of notice they are served with.
- If that person stilldecides to ignore the notice and eventually has a default judgment entered against them, they will then receive anothernotice from the Copyright Claims Board explaining the legal significance of the judgment, and giving them an additional 30 days to respond.
It is extremely unlikely that a competent adult would simply ignore notice of a case against them before the Copyright Claims Board. Anyone who would ignore such notice is equally likely to ignore notice served in any federal court in the country. But even if they did, the CASE Act provides even more safeguards to prevent a default judgment than even federal courts would, giving them opportunity after opportunity to respond. Not only that, but there are numerous reasons why someone being sued in this small claims process might actually wantto participate and even bring counterclaims before the tribunal—check out this blog post for more information.