Rebecca is an illustrator based in Kansas City, Kansas. She creates watercolor illustrations widely licensed for use on retail merchandise and consumer products including giftware, greeting cards, toys, calendars, packaging and textiles.
Infringements of Rebecca’s registered illustrations are widespread, including displays and offers for free downloads on multiple websites. Unauthorized downloads include over 3 million copies of free downloadable calendars, images from her mini calendar illustrations, “free upload” and “downloadable” digital websites. Well-meaning fans have emailed Rebecca to thank her for allowing her illustrations to be available for “free” on the internet.
Rebecca has lost the ability to license her illustrations because of the devaluation of her work in the marketplace as a result of the availability of free downloads. She also objects to the poor quality, color and aesthetic reproduction of the unauthorized digital copies which have harmed her professional reputation as an illustrator.
The legal recourse she would have sought had she been able to sue the infringer would be take-down from all infringers’ websites, actual damages of licensing fees for usage, as well as potential lost pro ts from the number of illegal downloads.
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, Rebecca would have had the option to seek legal help against infringers without spending a tremendous amount of money on the cost of litigation. The bill 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: master1305/iStock/thinkstock