Copyright Protection for Photographers: The CASE Act of 2017

Most artists are self-employed and vulnerable to copyright infringement by larger entities with deeper pockets. Currently, pursuing a copyright suit means having to go to federal court and hire an expensive copyright lawyer. Most artists cannot afford this and many are taken advantage of by those who know this and seek to profit from someone else’s creative work.

What is needed is a way to pursue copyright infringement by way of a small claims court procedure in which the artists can self-represent without great legal expense and appeal to an expert-led tribunal that does not rely on a jury.

The CASE Act features the following policy:

  • The claim must be brought within 3 years of the infringement.
  • There will be a small fee associated with filing a claim. This is to be determined.
  • A tribunal that consists of two copyright attorneys and one copyright arbitrator will hear the claim.
  • Before filing a claim, the copyright owner must provide the tribunal with a completed registration application filed with the Copyright Office or a certificate of registration.
  • Bring a copyright infringement claim valued at up to $30,000:
    • If the work was registered prior to infringement the max amount of statutory damages recoverable is $15,000.
    • If the work was not registered prior to infringement the max amount of statutory damages recoverable is $7,500.
    • The photographer will not need an attorney, since, similar to other small claims processes, this is a self-represent system, allowing you to bring a claim without a large financial investment.
    • You can hire an attorney but you will pay for your own attorney fees.
  • No need to travel for hearings or proceedings. Everything will be done online through video communication channels such as Skype.
  • Partaking in the Copyright Small Claims process is voluntary.
  • If the infringer decides to opt-out, you still have the option to bring a claim in Federal Court.
  • The tribunal will not hand down a final decision until the Copyright Office has issued a final registration certificate.
  • The decision will be held until the registration certificate has been issued.


Update on Copyright Protection for Artists: The CASE Act of 2019

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About the author

Hi, I’m Carmen “Mica” Alex and this is my blog about science, traveling, life and anything else that’s interesting or beautiful.

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