You may have heard about the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020, or CASE Act for short, which directed the Copyright Office to establish the Copyright Claims Board (CCB). Once operational, the CCB will provide a fair, efficient, and user-friendly way to resolve copyright disputes that involve up to $30,000. In preparation, the Copyright Office has announced the launch of its brand new website, ccb.gov, where businesses, creators, and users can learn more about the CCB, the types of claims it can hear, and reasons to consider using the CCB when it opens later this spring.
What will the CCB and ccb.gov mean for you? Here are some aspects to keep in mind as a creator or user of copyright-protected works.
- Congress passed the CASE Act to assist creators and users of copyright-protected works to more easily resolve their disputes. Before the CASE Act was passed, copyright lawsuits had to be brought in federal court. For many, the expense and effort of a federal lawsuit outweighed the potential benefit, making it cost prohibitive to get a legal resolution. The CCB will be a less expensive and faster alternative to filing or defending a lawsuit in federal court. And proceedings will be held virtually, so no one will be required to travel to Washington, DC.
- The CCB will be a fair and efficient alternative for resolving copyright disputes that involve up to $30,000. Proceedings will be held before a panel of three officers. Whether you are filing a claim or defending against one, a benefit of participating in a CCB proceeding is that your case gets decided by people with deep expertise in copyright as well as dispute resolution. You will be able to file a claim on ccb.gov later this year. In the meantime, you can visit the site to familiarize yourself with what filing or defending a claim will entail.
- The CCB’s online platform, ccb.gov, will be user-friendly. The Copyright Office is dedicated to creating a copyright system that is accessible and available to everyone. The CCB is intended for anyone in the public seeking to resolve a copyright dispute involving damages of up to $30,000 and is not exclusive to any parties. It will be a voluntary forum with streamlined discovery, straightforward procedures, and safeguards against abusive practices. While you can choose to have a lawyer in a CCB proceeding, you can also represent yourself.
- Businesses can designate a representative, called a “service agent,” to receive claims on their behalf. The Designated Service Agent Directory is a public directory of service agents for business entities that wish to be served with notices of CCB claims through an agent. Corporations, partnerships, and unincorporated associations can designate their agents on ccb.gov. Please note, this CCB directory is different from the DMCA Designated Agent Directory under section 512 of the Copyright Act.
- Libraries and archives will be able to preemptively opt out of all future CCB proceedings. Qualifying libraries and archives can opt out of all CCB proceedings by using a standard form available on ccb.gov. A list of all libraries and archives that have done so will be maintained on the site. A library’s or archives’ opt-out election also covers the entity’s employees acting within the scope of their employment.
Ready to learn more about the Copyright Claims Board? Be sure to check ccb.gov, read through our FAQs, and sign up for Copyright Office emails to receive important updates.