traverselegal - August 30, 2016 - Copyright Law
A new Bill has been introduced in Congress to set up a small claims system for processing copyright claims. This small claims alternative would be a substitute to Federal Court litigation for copyright claims which at the moment, aside from sending cease and desist letters and DMCA takedown demands, is the only remedy for copyright violations. A Federal Court remedy is obviously a costly one and not available to many copyright holders given the time and expense in processing copyright violations in Federal Court. Under the Bill, there would be limited discovery available in small claims and the copyright small claims cases would be decided by experienced copyright lawyers appointed by the Copyright Office. Potentially, many of the smaller claims including those for copyright infringement for online photographs, as well as DMCA abuses, are being discussed as primary disputes that would be designed to be processed in the copyright small claims court. Essentially, there would be no remedy for a willful infringement and you would forego the statutory maximums for a willful infringement claims, however, the process would be less costly and streamlined for the processing of copyright violation claims.
There is a commentary that exists indicating that the U.K. has adopted a small claims copyright violation system which is evidently thriving and has had good reviews from many commentators.
There are those who are opposed to this Bill and have indicated that it is likely a small claims copyright infringement court in the United States would be abused by what those who are known as copyright trolls. These are individuals or companies who are infamous for mass filings for copyright violations regarding the download of copyrighted content, particularly pornographic videos.
There is little detail available at this time concerning the small claim process itself based upon the Bill that was introduced but there will be significant discussions concerning the pros and cons of copyright small claims in the near term, which is bound to be beneficial for copyright holders in the end.
For more information about your copyrights and copyright protection, contact one of our copyright attorneys.