NANPA Supports the CASE Act
NANPA is a long-time supporter of the Copyright Alternative Small Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act. NANPA representatives have met every week with other photography and graphic artist groups for over three years to help make the CASE Act happen.
NANPA urges all creators, including nature photographers, to take action in support of the CASE Act. We explain what it is and how you can help make it happen below.
For recent news, check out our CASE Act blog posts.
What Good is Your Copyright Without a Realistic Remedy?
Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright but copyright actions in federal court are difficult, expensive and time consuming. The average copyright case currently costs over $278,000 to maintain and years to complete.
Most infringements, however, are relatively small in value and infringed parties often can’t even find an attorney to take their case. These smaller infringements regularly go unchallenged, and many infringers believe that they can steal images with impunity.
For many smaller infringements, creators like nature photographers can reasonably ask what good is their copyright when they have no effective way to enforce it?
A Remedy for Smaller Infringements
The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2019 (H.R. 2426 S. 1273) would help creators by creating a voluntary small claims process for copyright infringements. The CASE Act would create a voluntary, three judge tribunal within the Copyright Office to quickly and efficiently handle small infringements without the expense and hassle of a copyright action in a federal district court.
Under the CASE Act, the total award (either actual damages or statutory damages) cannot exceed $30,000. If a claimant’s work was registered with Copyright Office at time of infringement, then the claimant is eligible for statutory damages up to $15,000/infringement.
If a claimant’s work was not registered at the time of the infringement, they would still be eligible for statutory damages up to $7,500/infringement. This is a significant difference from a copyright action in federal district court, where failure to register the work before infringement renders all statutory damages unavailable.
CASE ACT MOMENTUM
The CASE Act was first introduced in the House in 2017 and reintroduced on May 1, 2019 as H.R. 2426 by Representatives Jeffries (D-NY) and Collins (R-GA) as lead sponsors along with Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler (D-NY) and IP Subcommittee Chairman Johnson (D-GA), as well as Representatives Roby (R-AL), Chu (D-CA), Cline (R-VA), Lieu (D-CA), Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
A companion bill, S. 1273, was introduced in the Senate by Senators Kennedy (R-LA), Tillis (R-NC), Durbin (D-IL), and Hirono (D-HI).
On July 18, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill from committee by voice vote, making it eligible for a full Senate vote. Less than 25% of Senate bills emerge from committee, so this is great news!
CASE Act Opposition
Big Internet Strikes Back
While we have momentum, “big Internet” is now pushing back hard, using various Internet freedom groups to create false perceptions and frenzied opposition from those who claim the CASE Act is an attack on Internet freedom itself.
Groups like the Electronic Freedom Foundation, Public Knowledge, Engine, Re-Create, and Fight for the Future are all conducting misleading campaigns to paint the CASE Act as way, for example, for copyright trolls to hit innocent infringers with statutory damages.
One anti-CASE Act campaign by Fight for the Future leads with the headline “That meme you shared? It may soon cost you $15,000.”
Misinformation and Fearmongering
This misleading fearmongering follows a familiar but effective playbook, unfortunately, as many have pointed out:
- Copyright Alliance, Fearmongering 101: An Examination of Fight for the Future’s Hackneyed and Dishonest Opposition to the CASE Act.
- Illusion of More, EFF Sides with Goliath (again) in Opposition to CASE Act.
- Illusion of More, CASE Act Introduced, Critics Spin Tales.
- Illusion of More. The People the CASE Act Critics Don’t Want to Mention
These groups are working hard to kill the CASE Act with their misinformation campaign. We must push back hard at the grass-roots level, and that is where you come in.
Take Action to Support the CASE Act
Send A Letter
The Copyright Alliance (of which NANPA is a member) has set up a CASE ACT ACTION page where you can quickly send a letter supporting the CASE Act to your congressional representative and Senators. It takes less than a minute! You can send the form letter or draft your own. They also provide phone numbers and Twitter accounts.
Attend In-District Meetings
We are working with other groups to schedule meetings with congressional representatives in their home districts and get those meetings filled with creators.
If you would like to help set up or attend a meeting, let us know.
We are also sending out notices to NANPA members in districts we are specifically targeting, asking if they can attend.
Help Us Spread the Word
Help us spread the word about the CASE Act on social media. Use the primary hashtags #CASEAct and #MySkillsPayBills.
Tell Us Your Infringement Story
Do you have an infringement story to tell? We are collecting as many examples as we can and want to hear from you.
*Special thanks to our friends for permission to use the cartoons and graphics on this page (the Copyright Alliance, Professional Photographers of America and JP Schmelzer).