Creators: Share Your Input with the U.S. Copyright Office by November 12
Dear APA Member,
As you know, late last year, the President signed into law the CASE Act, new legislation that calls for the creation of a small claims court for certain copyright claims. Since that time, the U.S. Copyright Office has been working to draft rules to implement the legislation. On September 29, the U.S. Copyright Office proposed some rules to set procedures and fees for claims brought under the CASE Act.
The Copyright Office proposes that the fee to file a claim be set at a flat rate of $100 per claim. This would likely be cost-prohibitive to many independent creators and deter participation in the new small claims court because this filing fee would be lost every time an alleged infringer opts out of the proceeding (if you recall, the CASE Act allows any party that is being sued in small claims court to opt out of the small claims proceeding).
We have been urging the Copyright Office to split the initial filing fee so that there is a smaller fee (for example, $25) for filing a claim and then a larger fee (for example, $75) that is charged only if and when the alleged infringer does not opt out and the case becomes active. Despite our proposal, the Copyright Office insists it cannot split the fee and is planning to charge everyone $100 at the outset. This means that if the alleged infringer opts out, the creator/copyright owner who filed the claim would lose $100 and receive nothing in return. We think that this will significantly deter participation in the new small claims court. However, with our suggested split fee approach, a creator/copyright owner might only lose $25 should the other party opt out.
How Can You Help?
We had great success in getting the CASE Act passed into law thanks to your assistance. So, we’re calling on you again to submit a short comment to the Copyright Office to voice your concerns on the filing fee issue to ensure that the copyright small claims proceedings are not cost prohibitive to creators.
Comments are due to the Copyright Office by the extended deadline of November 12, 2021 and should be submitted here, per the Copyright Office’s submission instructions. And creator comments should highlight the following points:
- the drawbacks of a flat $100/claim filing fee to you as an individual creator/copyright owner;
- the unlikelihood of your use of the new copyright small claims court if the flat fee structure is in place;
- the benefits to you as an individual creator/copyright owner created by an alternative tiered fee structure, where claimants would pay a smaller fee to file a claim and then a larger fee once the other party does not opt out and the case becomes active.
We have provided a sample letter here for anyone who would like to use it as guidance for their comments to the Copyright Office’s proposed rulemaking. Please feel free to use and edit/personalize the sample language in your own words.Thanks for your assistance!
Juliette Wolf-Robin, APA National Executive Director