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.