PUBLISHED JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association —
What to know now that Congress passed the CASE Act.
Last year was difficult for many, but we ended 2020 with some very good news to share. On Dec. 21, 2020, Congress passed the CASE Act as part of the end-of-year omnibus and COVID-19 relief package, titled the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021,” and it was signed into law by the president on Dec. 27, 2020.
Because of the tremendous support and hard work of the IBPA Advocacy Committee and IBPA members at-large, this new legislation will create a forum called the Copyright Claims Board within the U.S. Copyright Office to hear copyright claims of up to $15,000 per claim and an aggregate of $30,000. The cost of bringing a claim will range between a minimum of $100 and a maximum of the filing cost of an action in federal district court (currently $350), and the claims will be heard by a panel of three copyright claims officers appointed by the librarian of Congress, at least two of whom must have experience representing both owners and users of copyrighted works.
The legislation ultimately ensures that individual content creators and other copyright owners who depend on copyright for their livelihoods but can’t afford the costs of protracted litigation gain access to justice. If you are a new IBPA member and unfamiliar with the CASE Act, you can learn more about it here.
Some details about how the small claims court will work in practice still need to be determined by the Copyright Office, so it won’t actually become effective until, at the earliest, Dec. 27, 2021, and at the latest, late June 2022. Still, this is a great move forward for U.S. copyright holders and should help more easily defend copyrighted content for years to come.
The Role of IBPA
As the largest trade association for independent book publishers in the US, IBPA has been advocating for the establishment of such a copyright small claims tribunal for more than a year. Beginning in mid-2019, IBPA joined the Copyright Alliance and began to actively ask its nearly 3,700 members to contact their state representatives and encourage them to pass the bill into law.
In October 2019, the CASE Act passed in the House of Representatives 410-6, a huge bipartisan win, but later stalled in the Senate. Its enactment into law in December 2020 as part of Congress’s year-end appropriations package is a testament to the advocacy of IBPA members and dozens of other creator organizations who worked together to make their voices heard. If you were one of the many to petition your legislators on behalf of the bill, please take some time to thank them using the easy online form letter prepared by the Copyright Alliance.
The IBPA Advocacy Committee will continue to share educational materials and hold events to explain the small claims process, so stayed tuned for more information throughout the year.
IBPA Applauds Passing of the CASE Act, H.R. 2426 in the U.S. House of Representatives
IBPA Sends CASE Act Letters of Support to Sen. McConnell and Sen. Schumer
IBPA Launches New Social Media Campaign Messages in Support of the CASE Act
Possible CASE Act Movement Over the Next Several Weeks: IBPA Members Should Contact Senators Today