Calling all libraries and archives! You may have heard about the CASE Act and the establishment of the Copyright Claims Board, or CCB for short, a new forum for resolving copyright disputes involving damages of up to $30,000, staffed by experts in copyright law. But did you know that qualifying libraries and archives can preemptively opt out of participating in the CCB even before any claim is brought against them? Here is what you need to know.
The Copyright Office respects the important roles that libraries and archives play in our society. In fact, libraries and archives enjoy certain exemptions under copyright law, like lending hard copies of works to patrons or to other libraries. Libraries and archives also enjoy the unique opportunity to preemptively opt out of future CCB proceedings if they so choose. In other words, these organizations can decide that they will not participate in any claims brought against them in the CCB, so that copyright claims against them can only be brought in federal court. Libraries and archives are not required to preemptively opt out of proceedings. In fact, they may wish to not preemptively opt out, since the CCB is more cost-effective than federal court, and all claims are decided by three officers with copyright law expertise.
Who Is Covered
Libraries or archives that qualify under 17 USC § 108 can elect to preemptively opt out. The preemptive opt out will apply not only to the institution but also to any employees acting within the scope of their employment. This means, if the institution has preemptively opted out, the CCB will not allow copyright claims against them or their employees to proceed.
How to Preemptively Opt Out
The process is simple. To preemptively opt out, libraries and archives must submit a form on ccb.gov and self-certify their qualifying status. Afterward, the institution will be added to a publicly available list on ccb.gov and will never be asked to participate in any future CCB proceedings. There is no fee associated with doing so, and the status does not need to be renewed. However, it should be noted that if a claimant serves a claim before the preemptive opt-out is posted online, the institution should then follow the directions provided in the served notice to opt out of that claim.
If the Library or Archives Does Not Preemptively Opt Out
Participation in a CCB proceeding is voluntary for everyone. Libraries and archives that do not preemptively opt out can still opt out of participating in a CCB proceeding on a claim-by-claim basis. Libraries and archives, like any other potential CCB participant, should consider the pros and cons of using the CCB as an alternative to federal court litigation. You can learn more about the claim-by-claim opt-out process at ccb.gov.
Ready for more? Visit ccb.gov for more information on the preemptive opt-out option.