Public Knowledge Urges Congress to Re-examine CASE Act

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Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee marked up Senator John Kennedy’s (R-LA) bill, “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019,” (S. 1273), to establish a new Copyright Claim Board within the United States Copyright Office. Public Knowledge opposes the bill as written due to grave concerns with its contents.

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

“While we acknowledge the problems faced by independent artists, and don’t object to the theory of a small claims court, we have grave concerns about how the CASE Act executes that idea. It lacks meaningful opt-in consent for all parties, structural safeguards against abuse, and legal accountability through a right of appeal. The bill would allow an unappealable tribunal to assign damages of up to $30,000, or nearly half the income of the average American household. A tribunal with that kind of punitive power must be accountable. The system envisioned by the CASE Act is not.

“Moreover, we are deeply disturbed by the lack of process surrounding the consideration of this bill. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill today without any hearings on its content, and without any opportunities for all stakeholders to voice their concerns. For any bill -- let alone one that could drive the average American household into bankruptcy -- this lack of transparency is inexcusable.”

You may view our recent blog post, “The CASE Act: Small Claims, Big Risks,” for more information.

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