May 2 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced bipartisan legislation that would establish the Copyright Claims Board at the Copyright Office to make it easier and less expensive for independent creators, such as photographers, songwriters and graphic artists, to better defend their intellectual property from theft.
“Independent artists who rely on copyright laws to protect their work play an important role in our communities, but the current system makes it difficult for them to receive damages in a cost-effective manner,” said Senator Tillis. “This bipartisan bill will provide a more efficient way for copyright holders to protect their intellectual property and ensure that our content creators can be properly paid when their work is used without authorization.”

”Creative ideas are your property, whether you’re a photographer or an independent movie director,” said Senator Kennedy. “It shouldn’t cost you a fortune to protect your creativity from copyright infringement. This bill creates a legal avenue for artists to pursue copyright violations more quickly and less expensively. Louisiana’s rich culture and history are rooted in the successes of talented artists, musicians and authors. We need to make sure that Americans’ creative spirit is preserved and protected.”
“I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the CASE Act, which will provide individual content creators and small businesses with the option of using a small claims Copyright Office tribunal to address infringement claims. Copyright infringements that involve several thousand dollars in damages can have a huge impact on an individual creator or small business, but claims this size are rarely brought in federal court. Our bill would create a voluntary small claims process to allow content creators to seek meaningful recourse for their small dollar claims,” said Senator Durbin. “We have worked to make this bill fair to all participants in the copyright system, and we look forward to advancing it in both the House and Senate this Congress.”
“In its current form, the copyright system leaves no practical way for many creators to protect their rights as copyright holders. Federal district court litigation is simply too expensive and too complex for small photographers, artists, and the like to pursue valid claims against copyright infringers. The result is a system where those who rely most on their copyrighted works for their livelihoods are forced to sit back and watch while others use those copyrighted works free of charge,” said Senator Hirono. “The CASE Act will go a long way toward fixing this situation. By creating the Copyright Claims Board, the CASE Act establishes a venue where small creators can actually enforce their intellectual property rights and finally bear the fruit of their work.”
Supporters of the CASE Act include: 

  • American Association of Independent Music
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • American Photographic Artists
  • American Society for Collective Rights Licensing
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors
  • American Society of Media Photographers
  • Association of American Publishers
  • Authors Guild
  • Copyright Alliance
  • Digital Media Licensing Association
  • Dramatists Guild of America
  • Future of Music Coalition
  • Garden Communicators International
  • Graphic Artists Guild
  • Horror Writers’ Association
  • Nashville Songwriters Association International
  • National Press Photographers Association
  • National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981
  • News Media Alliance
  • North American Nature Photography Association
  • Novelists, Inc.
  • Professional Photographers of America
  • Recording Academy
  • Industry Association of America
  • Romance Writers of America
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; Screen Actors Guild?American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) 
  • Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
  • Songwriters Guild of America

Identical legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Martha Roby (R-AL), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Judy Chu (D-CA).