If you bring up politics today, you’re bound to start a fight. Most political discourse is polarized but let’s talk about something political that is not politically divisive.
In Congress today is a bill that has now been passed into committee. The bill is H.R.3945 and its short title is the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2017” or the “CASE Act of 2017”. What’s refreshing about this bill is that it enjoys bipartisan support. Of seven cosponsors of the bill, three are Republican and four are Democrats. And, they hail from all parts of the country, from Rhode Island to Georgia, to Texas and California.
This is an incredibly important bill for the small and independent creative community that includes photographers - both professional and amateur. The bill provides a reasonable alternative to resolve copyright disputes. It doesn’t change the copyright laws.
Today, if someone takes your photograph and uses it without your permission, you certainly have the right to pursue a remedy. But Copyright is a federal law and as such, the remedy must be pursued in federal court. It’s estimated that the bare minimum cost for such a case is $3,000. That’s more than most small claim damages.
This bill will provide for a Copyright Small Claims Board - similar to small claims court for civil cases. Damages would be limited to $15,000 for registered work and $7,500 for work not registered in a timely manner.
The reality today is that anyone can steal your work and use it for whatever they want, and there is virtually nothing a small or independent creative professional can do. This bill will create an avenue for these claims.
We’d like you to help push this bill along and it will take almost no time at all. Maybe a minute. Click below and then enter your name and address. The system will determine your Senators and your Representative and automatically generate letters to each. You’ll be given the opportunity to edit the text but if your happy with what’s presented, then just send it on. It takes longer to read this paragraph than send the letters.
Please don't wait. This is a unique opportunity and if this bill does not pass in this congress, the next ppportunity to resolve this problem might be decades away.