A New Venue for Enforcing Copyright
Presently, a copyright holder may only bring suit in United States District Court. However, for independent creators such as independent authors, photographers, artists, and musicians, the high cost and lengthy process associated with federal litigation make enforcing copyrights cost prohibitive. According to an American Intellectual Property Law Association report, the average cost of litigating a copyright infringement case in federal court from pre-trial through appeal is $278,000. In light of this, it oftentimes does not make economic sense for a copyright owner to bring a copyright infringement suit. This is especially true for individual creators. As a point of comparison, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 the median annual salary for writers and authors was $67,120. This is just one example of how enforcement of copyrights by independent and small creators is often not economically feasible.
The forthcoming small claims court system called the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) seeks to alleviate these burdens. The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (the “CASE Act”) was passed as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020. The CASE Act established the CCB as part of the United States Copyright Office for copyright owners to seek damages totaling less than $30,000 for their copyright claims. The CCB is scheduled to start hearing cases on December 27, 2021.
The CCB is designed to provide a cheaper and more streamlined process for small claims copyright litigants who otherwise might not be able to afford the high costs of filing suit in federal court. Independent creators should consider the CCB as an option to start enforcing their copyrights in their works. Should you find yourself in a situation as a copyright owner and want to enforce your rights, our team at Tucker Ellis can help you through this new economically friendly process.