The following is a guest post by Shira Perlmutter, Register of Copyrights
As the year draws to a close, I’d like to provide an update on the work the Copyright Office has done to implement the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act), which became law on December 27, 2020. The CASE Act directs the Office to establish a new tribunal, the Copyright Claims Board (CCB), to resolve copyright disputes with a monetary value of no more than $30,000. We are excited about this project, which represents the realization of a long-standing Copyright Office proposal. The CCB will offer a cost-effective, streamlined, and voluntary alternative to litigation in federal court.
The CASE Act provided that the CCB would open its doors by December 27, 2021, with leeway to extend that date by 180 days for good cause. I am pleased to report that implementation of the multiple tasks involved will be substantially completed by the initial statutory deadline. However, some additional time will be needed to give the public sufficient opportunity to comment on the proposed regulations and to thoroughly test the technologies that will be used before operations commence. I have therefore determined that good cause exists to defer the CCB’s start date until spring and have accordingly notified Congress.
Much work has been done already to get the CCB up and running. We have hired three well-respected, impartial experts in copyright and litigation as Copyright Claims Officers, along with seasoned attorneys to support their work. We are building out a new space to house the CCB offices and hearing room. We are developing an informational website and online systems for case management and other types of submissions, and we are preparing handbooks and forms to help users navigate the process. In a short time, we have published four comprehensive rulemaking proposals, with two more notices and four final rules on the way. Together, these rules will set out the process of interacting with the CCB from the initiation of a claim through a final determination. We have received many thoughtful comments from the public and look forward to receiving more. And of course accomplishing all of this in such a short time would not have been possible without the dedication and expertise of the Copyright Office staff.
Before the CCB begins to hear claims, however, it’s important to ensure that all the rules are finalized with meaningful input from the public and that the CCB’s technical systems function smoothly for all participants. For these reasons, we are taking additional time to receive more comments and fully test these systems. The additional time will allow us to have confidence in a successful launch of the new tribunal.
If you are interested in providing feedback on the proposed operations of the CCB, I encourage you to subscribe here for emails about opportunities to do so. We are committed to building a copyright system that is accessible to all.
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More on the CASE Act and the CCB is available here.
To learn more about the reasons to establish an alternative to federal litigation for small copyright claims, see the Office’s Copyright Small Claims report.
I would like to file a claim. I had a book published in the 1980’s. Without my permission, it has been sold to many different publishers and is now coming out as a first edition. The new publisher created a
site with its name in order to be able to claim it.
Re: 1965(Pre72), USCO-2019, register-soundtrack owner: I am ready to file for two (A&B), Unauthorized soundtrack Infringements claims. The statute of limitation to file is for three years, which would have a deadline by December 2921. At that time, I did not have all the required documentation to file I do now. My understanding was that there were extensions posted from the CCB for several reasons. Your post here says that the CCB will be ready by spring 2022; would that allow me to file my claim? or am I still barred from filing? Thank You.
Thank you for considering the Copyright Claims Board; however, the Board does not have jurisdiction to hear disputes involving pre-1972 sound recordings. For more information about enforcement of pre-1972 sound recordings see our circular, Pre-1972 Sound Recordings.
I am a musician, having written nearly 500 instrumental songs (being duly copyrighted with the US Copyright Office). My music has been plagiarized by nearly 160 rappers. I have waited a year to file a case against a rapper who I only discovered last year has released one of my songs as his own, changing the title of my composition, adding a “beat” with a narration of his name layered over my original recording. He then licensed it to 21 other rappers. The rap producer is published under Universal Music Corp, and one of the songs was released by Warner Music. Another producer took 7 of my songs and licensed them to Sony, Universal, and Warner. I need a court order for the rights to be turned back over to me, and royalties from the recordings to be paid to me from Sound Exchange, Music Reports, HFA, BMI, and ASCAP, among others. DMCA notices are not honored by these societies. Sony, Warner and Universal have ignored all DMCA notices and request to transfer rights.
So, when does CASE begin accepting applications?
The Copyright Claims Board will begin accepting applications in spring 2022. To keep up to date on when that happens, follow our implementation tracker at copyright.gov/about/small-claims/ or subscribe to our CASE Act and Copyright Small Claims Board Updates email list.