House Judiciary Committee Passes CASE Act, Setting Bill Up for Floor Vote

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PPA celebrates as small-claims copyright legislation moves closer to full vote.

News Image's looking more and more like small claims might be a reality.

Professional Photographers of America and other advocates for reform to the nation’s copyright system have reason to celebrate as H.R. 2426, the CASE Act, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday evening.

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act establishes a small-claims process for photographers and other small-business owners/content creators who find their work infringed on by another party. The passage out of the House Judiciary Committee follows the passage of companion legislation passing the Senate Judiciary Committee and now places the law in position for a full vote by both chambers of Congress.

“The #CASEAct would provide an inexpensive alternative to costly federal court litigation by establishing a copyright small claims proceeding within the Copyright Office,” Rep. Doug Collins tweeted in support on Wednesday, referencing the bill’s central conceit, the establishment of a Copyright Claims Board that would hear and rule on small-claims copyright infringement cases worth less than $15,000. Collins is a co-sponsor of the bill along with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

“The establishment of the Copyright Claims Board is critical for the creative middle class who deserve to benefit from the fruits of their labor,” said Jeffries in a press release. “Copyright enforcement is essential to ensure that these artists, writers, musicians and other creators are able to commercialize their creative work in order to earn a livelihood. The CASE Act will enable creators to enforce copyright-protected content in a fair, timely and affordable manner. This legislation is a strong step in the right direction.”

“The U.S. economy depends on our ability to ensure intellectual property, including copyrights, is protected,” added Collins in the press release. “The CASE Act would establish a copyright small claims court to give creators the ability to protect their livelihoods and fight back against infringement of their works. Protecting intellectual property is critical to continue growing our economy, maintaining our position as a world leader and ensuring the creative spark remains alive with current and future generations. I appreciate Congressman Jeffries’ leadership on the CASE Act and am grateful for the strong bicameral, bipartisan support this legislation is receiving, including from our chairman, Jerrold Nadler.”

The bipartisan support for the CASE Act has led to the bill gaining 15 cosponsors in the Senate and 92 in the House as of September 11, 2019. PPA, along with the Copyright Alliance and several other artists' and small business groups, will continue their advocacy efforts as the bill makes its way to a full vote.

"It's staggering to think what it has taken to get to this point - almost countless hours, position papers, negotiations, and grassroots campaigns," says PPA CEO David Trust. "We aren't there yet, but it's looking more and more like small claims might be a reality."

PPA encourages everyone to continue learning more about the CASE Act at and join the fight for artists’ rights.

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