Press Release Copyright Reform

Public Knowledge Opposes Bill Creating Unaccountable “Small-Claims” Court

October 22, 2019 , ,

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to establish a new Copyright Claim Board within the United States Copyright Office by passing the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019” (CASE Act). Public Knowledge opposes the bill as written because it would create an unaccountable “small claims” tribunal that would be exempt from the regulations and procedures of the judicial branch. 

Furthermore, the tribunal would be able to assign damages of up to $30,000 — nearly half the income of the average American household — which could bankrupt individual artists and creators while letting corporations and sophisticated mass infringers off the hook entirely — and do so without any meaningful right of appeal.

The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“The CASE Act was rammed through on suspension with no hearings, no opportunity for amendment, and no opportunity for meaningful comment from public interest and consumer groups. We urge the Senate not to take up this bill as written, but to instead open the dialogue to all affected parties to craft meaningful, functional solutions.” 

You may view our recent blog posts, “The CASE Act: Small Claims, Big Risks” and “What a Reasonable Copyright Small-Claims Court Would Look Like,” for more information, as well as our recent letter opposing the bill.