What is the Copyright Claims Board, and why does it matter so much? Here’s what you should know.
In June of 2022, the US Copyright office launched a Small Claims process for copyright actions under $30,000.00. Here’s some of the things you need to know.
This process is a big change to the copyright infringement process. Prior to now, to prosecute a copyright infringement matter you had to take a case to Federal Court – a long and very expensive endeavor.
The creation of a Small Claims Board is one of the most significant changes we have seen in a long time. In the IP legal community this is considered a major change.
Understanding the Copyright Claims Board & The Process
The Copyright Claims Board is a government-run organization that is designed to handle smaller copyright infringement claims. When someone has been accused of copyright infringement, the aggrieved party can now file a claim with the CCB. This can help both parties avoid the cost and stress of going to court.
The CCB limits cases to $30,000 so this is not the place for a large copyright infringement case. Larger cases are still going to end up in Federal Court.
However, there are some basics that you should consider. The system is a voluntary system. Both parties must agree to participate. However, Respondents (the name of defendants in the system) need to opt-out within 60 days or they are forced to participate.
There are limits to both the number of damages and the exchange of information. The damages in the CCB are $30,000. There are also limits on the exchange of information between the parties.
There is also a ‘smaller claims’ division of the CCB which caps the damages at $5,000. The smaller claims process has even less of an exchange of information between the parties.
There are also limited circumstances for appeals in the process. Meaning that the parties will generally be stuck with the ruling of CCB and cannot challenge it.
The Good and The Bad of the Copyright Claims Board
It is a great step forward to creating a streamlined system for copyright issues. Copyright infringement cases are expensive and time-consuming. They are usually only pursued by the richest of companies on the most severe cases. Few can afford to go to court on a copyright infringement case.
The CCB creates an alternative path for copyright issues. It gives a voice to smaller creators and copyright owners an avenue to pursue copyright claims in a much less expensive way.
However, there is a downside to this theory. The Electronic Freedom Frontier (EFF), a non-profit organization has argued the opposite. They argue that the system will be abused by larger copyright holders and brands to be able to go after the smallest of cases of copyright infringement. Further, because large copyright holders, like music catalogs are very close with the copyright office, they expect a bias towards big copyright holders.
They also expect that the 60 notices to Opt-Out of the system will likely be ignored, leaving people no alternative but to participate in the process.
It is too early to tell how any of these things will play out.
The CCB is a new system that hopes to streamline the copyright infringement process and lower the costs of pursuing copyright infringement claims. If you want more information visit the US Copyright office.
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