Wednesday, October 23, 2019

CASE Act YES vote in House, now on to the Senate -- UPDATED

UPDATED 3.11.2021

CASE ACT became law Jan 2021! More on that here:
updates here from 3.2020

Link for recent article "Copyright law comes under scrutiny..." by Daniel Grant

Also this ..
Long ago planned increased fees for copyright registrations have just been launched I believe

Oct 2019 post..

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (aka the CASE Act) was overwhelming approved with a YES vote in the House of Representatives.

CASE Act support graphic below by illustrator David Beard from the Graphic Artist Guild (GAG) Facebook page.

Here's the GAG statement on the Yes vote..

The Graphic Artists Guild Applauds the House Passage of The CASE Act

Washington, DC (October 23, 2019): The Graphic Artists Guilds applauds the passage of H.R. 2426the Copyright Alternative in Small-claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) by the full House last evening. The vote demonstrated the overwhelming and bi-partisan support which exists for the Bill, with 410 members voting aye and only six voting nay.  This was a decisive victory for visual artists and creators.
The Guild is grateful to Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA) for their leadership in introducing the Bill, and to the original co-sponsors: Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). We are particularly grateful for the care these Members took in listening to the concerns of individual creators, and in crafting a Bill that balances the concerns of those who create copyrighted works and those who use them.
The CASE Act would establish a small copyright claims tribunal within the Copyright Office that would handle small copyright disputes via an expedited, affordable process. Currently, the only recourse individuals with small copyright claims have is to proceed with a suit in federal court, where the legal costs often outstrip the potential awards for small infringements.
Guild National President Lara Kisielewska says: “The Guild constantly hears from illustrators and designers whose work has been infringed. They feel stymied by a system in which, if the infringer refuses to negotiate with them, their only course of action is an expensive, time-consuming process in federal court. We believe The CASE Act will not only provide creators with an affordable alternative to federal court, but will also deter the outright theft of the work of individual creators, and in so doing, will restore respect for their labor and their copyrights.”

If it also passes in the Senate and is signed by the President, the CASE act will provide an optional small claims court enforcement for copyright protections. (Infographic below from the GAG Facebook page)

Claims up to $30,000 could be handled with or without lawyers via the Small Claims Court option.

There is some opposition to the Bill, but groups supporting the bill include the News Media Alliance, SAG-AFTRA, Professional Photographers of America and the Copyright Alliance.

Here are links for articles about the CASE Act Yes vote:

The best thing about the CASE Act becoming law is that it will increase awareness about art theft and indie artist rights.

Many new laws are controversial at first -- and the first versions of them aren't perfect. Through enforcement of the law, it gets argued and refined.

There are pros and cons to any new law. It's good to study both sides.

However, I still feel the CASE Act is in the best interest of indie artists at this point. There isn't another option that gives them a real way to fight back against theft without going to federal court. The expenses and time involved for that sort of case is beyond the scope and means of the majority of indie artist theft/infingements.

The CASE Act is a possible way to settle cases up to $30,000. With or without lawyers. Without the expense of trial and travel. Artists can opt out of the small claims court option.

It's still vital that creators REGISTER their copyrights. Enforcement of copyright law protections really hinges on that step. The 2019 Supreme Court ruling establishes that it's the registration certificate in hand -- not just the application process -- that is required for this pre-requisite to be met.

To best protect copyrights, artists should get in the habit of registering their copyrights quarterly or at least every 6 mos. It's possible to bundle images and register them as a group as long as they are all UNPUBLISHED images. Check with your Intellectual Property attorney for guidelines that best suit your needs.

More info on the CASE Act can be found on the Graphic Artist Guild website. Here are some fact-checking infographics on the CASE Act from the GAG. Click on these to enlarge.

This "Tools and Resources" page on the GAG website offers terrific articles with basics on Copyright, Trademark, etc.

Some previous posts here on the blog about the CASE Act and Copyright infrigement:

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