Following years of Congressional deliberation, U.S. Copyright Office research, stakeholder input, and advocacy by individual creators and small businesses, the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act” (the CASE Act) was passed by Congress on December 21, 2020, in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and then signed into law by the President on December 27, 2020.
The CASE Act calls for the creation of a “small claims court” within the U.S. Copyright Office to handle certain copyright disputes in a fair, efficient, and affordable manner so that creators don’t have to go to federal court. Historically, federal courts have had exclusive jurisdiction over copyright, but it’s expensive and complex to navigate a case through the federal court system. Thus, most professional creators and small businesses cannot afford to enforce their rights when someone infringes their works. The small claims tribunal created by the CASE Act will provide a voluntary and affordable alternative to federal court.
The CASE Act requires that the small claims tribunal begin operating within one year of the date it was enacted, which would be December 27, 2021. However, there is also a provision allowing for a six-month extension to account for delays associated with the pandemic or other significant reasons. So at the latest, the tribunal should begin operating by late June 2022.
The Copyright Office has already begun the process of hiring employees to run the tribunal and drafting implementing regulations.
And as the CASE Act is implemented and as the Copyright Claims Board is created, we will include updates on staffing and regulations here:
May 26, 2021: Deadline to file Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Expedited Registration and FOIA comments with Copyright Office.
May 10, 2021: Deadline to file reply comments in response to Notification of Inquiry on CASE Act Regulations with Copyright Office.
May 10, 2021: Copyright Alliance submits reply comments to copyright alternatives in Small-Claims Enforcement (“CASE) Act Regulations.
April 26, 2021: Deadline to file comments in response to CASE Act NOI to Copyright Office; 38 comments were filed including comments by the Copyright Alliance. You can find all 38 comments here.
April 26. 2021: Copyright Office publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Expedited Registration and FOIA Under CASE Act.
April 14, 2021: Extended deadline to apply to Copyright Office for CCB officer positions.
March 26, 2021: Copyright Office publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding implementation of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims.
March 23, 2021: Copyright Office Announces Job Postings for Copyright Claims Officers to consider small copyright claims.
December 27, 2020: The CASE Act was signed into law by the president.
December 21, 2020: Congress passes the CASE Act.
Check out the links below to learn more about the CASE Act implementation and history:
CASE Act Resources
- Copyright Small Claims and the Copyright Claims Board (U.S. Copyright Office)
- The CASE Act: Support Independent Music Creators’ Rights (Recording Academy)
- CASE Act Provisions Are Now Law (Copyright Clearance Center)
- The CASE Act Signed into Law: What That Means (Copyright Alliance)
- Copyright Small Claims: A Report of the Register of Copyrights (U.S. Copyright Office)