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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) announced today that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance their legislation that will make it easier and more affordable for artists to defend their intellectual property from theft.  This legislation, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, S. 1273, establishes a Copyright Claims Board at the Copyright Office for small business entrepreneurs, like photographers, musicians and graphic designers, to file suit against copyright infringers.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chris Coons (D-Del.) joined as cosponsors of the legislation this week.

“Money and complexity of the court system should not be barriers for small business entrepreneurs and artists to sue copyright infringers, who are very obviously breaking the law,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Louisiana’s rich culture and history are rooted in the successes of talented artists, musicians and creators.  The CASE Act will ensure that Americans’ creative spirit is preserved and protected.” 

“A copyright is not meaningful unless it is enforceable, and right now thousands of creators are effectively unable to enforce their rights when it comes to infringements costing a few hundred or a few thousand dollars,” Durbin said. “Our bipartisan bill, supported by a wide variety of stakeholders, creates a voluntary, streamlined process to resolve small claims. We can help small businesses and entrepreneurs protect their hard work and I urge the full Senate to pass this bill.”

“Independent artists who rely on copyright laws to protect their work play an important role in our communities, but the current system makes it difficult for them to receive damages in a cost-effective manner,” said Senator Tillis. “I applaud the Judiciary Committee for passing this bipartisan bill that will provide a more efficient way for copyright holders to protect their intellectual property and ensure that our content creators can be properly paid when their work is used without authorization.”

“In its current form, the copyright system leaves no practical way for many creators to protect their rights as copyright holders. Federal district court litigation is simply too expensive and too complex for small photographers, artists, and the like to pursue valid claims against copyright infringers. The result is a system where those who rely most on their copyrighted works for their livelihoods are forced to sit back and watch while others use those copyrighted works free of charge,” Senator Hirono said. “The CASE Act will go a long way toward fixing this situation. By creating the Copyright Claims Board, the CASE ACT establishes a venue where small creators can actually enforce their intellectual property rights and finally bear the fruit of their work. I will continue working with my colleagues on this issue as we move this bill forward for passage through the full Senate.”

Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s remarks about the CASE Act in today’s Senate Judiciary markup meeting:

 

 

Supporters of the CASE Act include:

  • American Association of Independent Music
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • American Photographic Artists
  • American Society for Collective Rights Licensing
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors
  • American Society of Media Photographers
  • Association of American Publishers
  • Authors Guild
  • Conservatives for Property Rights
  • Copyright Alliance
  • Digital Media Licensing Association
  • Dramatists Guild of America
  • Future of Music Coalition
  • Garden Communicators International
  • Graphic Artists Guild
  • Horror Writers’ Association
  • Nashville Songwriters Association International
  • National Press Photographers Association
  • National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981
  • News Media Alliance
  • North American Nature Photography Association
  • Novelists, Inc.
  • Recording Academy 
  • Professional Photographers of America
  • Recording Industry Association of America
  • Romance Writers of America
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; Screen Actors Guild
  • American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
  • Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
  • Songwriters Guild of America
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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