Not dissimilar to their counterparts in the European Union, US Congress is actively mulling the implementation of new law suring up Copyright protections for online producers, artists and news organizations. To be more exact, Congress is actively debating something known at the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act” (CASE Act), a bill which is slowly but surely picking up steam behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. For those of you whom might be unfamiliar, the bill is designed to create a new system of accountability in regards to US Copyright Law, a system that would create new fines for anyone found to have violated Copyright Law or stolen/used someone else’s work, content, creations or intellectual property without the proper level of consent.
More specifically, the CASE ACT would:
– Allow the Copyright Office to issue subpoenas for the identity of an Internet user, who can then be targeted for harassment and threats;
– Do away with the requirement that copyright holders register their works before infringement begins in order to recover automatic statutory damages, which weeds out frivolous claims;
– Allow the Copyright Office to issue $5,000 copyright “parking tickets” through a truncated process, with no true right of appeal.
However, lawyers are warning that for however well-intended the bill may be, it’s still misplaced. This is because, if passed as is, the bill would essentially open up a legal avenue through which people can begin suing one another, which isn’t actually tied to the Judicial Branch of Government or a legitimate judicial process – creating legal loopholes that are certain to be abused.
Lawyers a specifically warning about the future use of “Copyright Trolls” as a means of stifling or limiting competition, not dissimilar in many ways to how SLAPP lawsuits are used here in the United States – essentially opening up lawsuits for the sake of opening up lawsuits, regardless if the cases are even winnable or not. As is, the CASE Act would create a new legal system which would only reward those with most amount of money/capitol or most abundant resources, whilst restricting new start ups and small time competitors. This is also why the US legal community is coming forward in an effort to put a stop to these laws before they ever become enacted. If you would like to learn more about this law and the issues surrounding it, you’re invited to utilize the resources provided below.
Learn More – US CASE Act: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr3945/BILLS-115hr3945ih.pdf
Download Copy of Letter: https://www.eff.org/files/2018/04/26/case_act_letter_to_judiciary.pdf