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Posts Tagged: "CASE Act"

The Year in Copyright: From Google v. Oracle to the Takings Clause

One of the greatest attributes of copyright law is the never-ending abundance of exciting new developments, including those in Congress, the courts, and at the Copyright Office. On the surface, copyright seems straightforward in that it advances the public good by securing property rights to authors. But underneath this simple veneer lies centuries of debate about how best to balance the rights of authors with the public interest, where each distinct issue presents a veritable rabbit hole of metaphysical distinctions. For the copyright connoisseur, keeping up with the latest events can be an exhausting endeavor, though the thrill of solving new puzzles makes it intellectually rewarding. Thankfully, one need not be a member of the copyright cognoscenti to appreciate the major developments in copyright law this past year. From the Supreme Court’s decision in Google v. Oracle to the implementation of a small copyright claims tribunal to attempts to rein in state infringements, 2021 has certainly provided many wonderful events worth highlighting.

Roblox is Latest Online Platform to Settle NMPA Copyright Claims with Collaborative Music Licensing Agreement

On September 27, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and online game platform provider Roblox announced that the two parties had settled ongoing copyright litigation in the Central District of California over Roblox’s unauthorized use of copyrighted music on its online gaming platform. The settlement also creates an opt-in mechanism for eligible NMPA publishers and opens a negotiation period for individual publishers to engage Roblox in go-forward licensing deals.

The New Copyright Small Claims Board Presents Problems for Copyright Owners and Small Businesses

Creative people need a quick, efficient and inexpensive way to recover damages for copyright infringement. They need a place to submit their charge of infringement and collect damages. Until recently, their only option was to bring a lawsuit in a federal district court; a process that is complicated, expensive and time-consuming. The Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act) gives them another option, but it is problematic. It is also a problem for small businesses, which are at a disadvantage because the act benefits copyright trolls. It creates a new efficient vehicle for copyright trolls to prey on your clients.

Holiday Gifts for IP Owners: Several Significant IP Bills Passed Last Minute by Congress

Late Monday evening, Congress passed a massive omnibus budget bill to avert a federal government shutdown and provide critical COVID-19 relief.  But that is not all – much to the surprise of the intellectual property world, the last-minute bill included several pieces of legislation, previously thought to be sidetracked in light of the current lame duck administration, that will alter the landscape of trademark, copyright and patent law as we know it. The changes include a Trademark Modernization Act that restores the rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm when a Lanham Act violation has been proven, allowing brand owners to more easily obtain injunctions, and the creation of a copyright small claims tribunal within the Copyright Office.

Wyden Attempts to Stall CASE Act: Senate Holds Are Not Supposed to Be Dead Ends

Under Rule VII of the Rules of the Senate, bills can only move forward by unanimous consent. Consequently, a single senator may place a “hold” on a bill to keep it from passing. In principle, the rule exists to ensure that any senator may suspend the legislative process in order to review and research a proposal, particularly in cases where his or her state has a keen interest. In practice, of course, senate holds are wielded like one-man filibusters that often mask ulterior motives. Holds are meant to be contemplative pause buttons, not kill switches. Since last September, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has maintained a hold on the small-claim copyright provision known as the CASE Act. This bill would create a voluntary, small-claim tribunal conducted by a newly created Copyright Claims Board (CCB) at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Senator Ron Wyden, Stop Harming Independent Creators

As the current pandemic eviscerates jobs throughout our economy, Congress has a rare opportunity to improve the lot of one long-besieged group of workers: creators. Authors, songwriters, photographers, artists, filmmakers, and many other creative professionals are the lifeblood of American cultural innovation. For decades, however, unfettered copyright infringement online has undermined their livelihoods. The effect is especially pronounced for “creative upstarts”—independent creators who rely on copyright income. Many creative upstarts report widespread piracy of their works but feel powerless to stop it. Now, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) seems intent on unilaterally terminating a bill that if passed would give indie creators—thousands of whom live in Wyden’s state of Oregon—much needed access to justice.

Filling in the Holes: The CASE Act is Where Good Intention Meets Good Policy

While there are a number of falsehoods being spread about the CASE Act by those who philosophically oppose any legislation that will help the creative community, there are a few honest critiques that are based on simple misunderstandings about the bill rather than malice. Take, for instance, an article published earlier this week on this blog which characterizes the CASE Act’s intentions as noble, but argues that there are “three gaping holes” that make for bad policy…. The CASE Act will not bring an end to copyright infringement, nor is it intended to. Subversive parties that intend to infringe and skirt the law are unlikely to be brought to justice under the CASE Act. But the CASE Act is good policy for achieving what it is intended to do: provide an alternative to federal court where consenting parties who presently cannot afford to, might finally get their day in court.

The Case Act: Good Intentions but Bad Policy

On October 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 410-6, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (the “CASE Act”). The Act proposes to set up what is in essence a voluntary administrative procedure conducted in the U.S. Copyright Office whereby artists and other copyright holders can protect their copyrights without the cost, expense and difficulty associated with filing a full-blown copyright infringement litigation in federal court. Based on the vote in the House, the CASE Act appears to enjoy widespread, bipartisan support in Congress—a rarity these days, to be sure. The appeal is simple: give individual artists and small companies an affordable mechanism to enforce their rights in their creative works. But although the political appeal of the CASE Act is obvious, the practical reality of the CASE Act is something entirely different. Indeed, there are three gaping holes in the CASE Act which may cause the small claims process it sets forth to have only very narrow appeal and to be an effective dispute resolution mechanism in only a narrow subset of cases.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, October 25: CASE Act Passes House, Inventor Rally at AIPLA Meeting, Veteran IP Leaders Launch Patent Collective

This week in Other Barks & Bites: new patent collective for video technology launched; inventor rally to be held during live IPR hearing at AIPLA meeting; the White House indicates that the first phase of the U.S.-China trade deal will focus on IP; the USPTO shifts burden of proving patentability in PTAB motions to amend to the petitioner after Aqua Products; the House of Representatives passes the CASE Act in a 410-6 vote; the EU invalidates the three-dimensional trademark to the Rubik’s Cube; Power Integrations settles its patent infringement litigation against ON Semiconductor; Intel files an antitrust suit against SoftBank over patent acquisition and assertion activities; Amazon.com posts its first year-over-year earnings loss in more than two years; and the Federal Circuit overturns Google’s challenge to a Philips patent on appeal from the PTAB.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, October 11: IPWatchdog Celebrates, USPTO Meets Pendency Goals, SCOTUS Denies IP Cases and ACLU Opposes CASE Act

This past week in Other Barks & Bites: the Federal Circuit issued precedential decisions affirming the invalidation of patent claims covering osteoarthritis treatments and a costs award to Facebook, but reversed the PTAB on a reasonable expectation of success finding; the U.S. Supreme Court issued orders denying certiorari to several intellectual property cases; North Korea acceded to the Geneva Act of WIPO’s Lisbon Agreement; the Dollywood theme park was hit with a copyright suit over use of the Peanuts’ “Christmas Time is Here”; Nokia announced 2,000 patent families declared as 5G SEPs; former CAFC Chief Judge Rader has called on China to move forward with promised pharmaceutical patent reforms; 2019’s third quarter showed growth in the global PC market; and the USPTO announced that it has met its patent application pendency goals as well as a new senior-level position for an AI expert.

Other Barks & Bites, Friday, July 19: USPTO Updates AIA Trial Practice Guide, Senate Bill to Block Huawei Patent Purchases, and CASE Act Voted Out of Committee

This week in Other Barks & Bites: Senators Rubio and Cornyn introduce a bill to prevent Huawei from buying and selling U.S. patents; the CASE Act to create a small claims system for copyright claims is voted onto the Senate floor; the USPTO releases an updated trial practice guide for America Invents Act trials at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board; IBM increases its blockchain patent filings, while carbon mitigation patent filings have dropped around the world; Google faces patent lawsuit for “brazen” infringement; a settlement in a trademark case allows historic Yosemite sites to resume use of their names; and Microsoft boost in cloud sales in the latest quarter leads to a big beat on revenue.

Why Creators Like Me Are Lining Up in Support of the CASE Act

I have heard it said that a right without a remedy isn’t really a right. This saying completely and accurately sums up my experience with copyright infringement in the modern age. I am not an attorney, let alone a copyright lawyer. I am a small business owner whose livelihood is constantly affected by the lack of reasonable avenues for pursuing infringement of my work. For more than a decade, I have been making my living as a commercial photographer and filmmaker. During that time I have witnessed my works infringed online—an exceedingly easy thing to do in the digital age—but also in print. A most memorable example of this was finding my photo enlarged as the backdrop to a competitor’s trade show booth while my paying client was rightfully using the same artwork across the room at their own booth. An act like this is both unlawful and egregious. But the extraordinary costs of pursuing a copyright infringement suit in federal court prohibit me from seeking recourse this way without taking on the additional risk of bankruptcy.

CASE Act Promises Long-Overdue Access to Justice for Individuals and Small Businesses in the Arts

Jenna Close is a freelance commercial photographer and owner of a small business that licenses still images and videos to both domestic and international clients. She and her partner work 60-80 hours a week booking work, shooting, billing, accounting, marketing, and continuing to develop and maintain their skills. Jenna’s images are widely infringed online. She’s found exact reproductions of her work on competitors’ websites, on websites falsely advertising that the photographs are free to use, and she’s even come across instances where companies have photoshopped their own products into her images. Despite the brazen misuse of her images that she frequently encounters, Jenna does not generally pursue claims against her infringers because it is too expensive and time consuming to do so. It’s just not worth the cost—even though she registers at least some of her images for copyright protection, and so would be entitled to statutory damages and attorneys’ fees with respect to those images in case of a court victory. Unfortunately, Jenna’s story is not unique. For countless individual artists and small businesses, combating the unauthorized use of their creative works online is a source of enduring frustration. The frequency and ease with which photographs, sound recordings, videos, and other works of authorship are shared on the Internet leaves those without significant time and resources little recourse when they encounter infringement. But now, after years of advocacy by creators like Jenna, new legislation promises long-overdue support for these marginalized groups in the ongoing fight against overwhelming infringement in the digital age.

Opt-Out Provision Could Undermine CASE Act’s Small Claims Solution for Copyright

On May 1, Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA) officially reintroduced H.R. 2426, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, into the U.S House of Representatives. The bill was originally introduced in 2017 during the 115th Congress but expired after committee review. Along with the House bill, S. 1273, the U.S. Senate version of the bill, has been introduced by another bipartisan group including Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The proposed legislation seeks to establish an alternative forum for resolving disputes involving small claims of copyright infringement. If passed, the CASE Act would create the Copyright Claims Board, which is served by three full-time officers and two full-time attorneys who are appointed by the Register of Copyrights. The Board would be able to render determinations on copyright infringement, declarations of non-infringement or claims for misrepresentation in association with claimed infringement, and would also be able to award damages up to $30,000 to aggrieved parties. The bulk of the bill’s language deals mainly with how the Board will operate as an alternative forum to U.S. district court, with final determinations ultimately reviewable by district court.

Other Barks and Bites, Friday, May 3: CASE Act, China Leads in 5G SEPs, and SCOTUS Requests Government’s Views in Oracle v. Google

This week in IP news: the CASE Act, which would create a small claims system for copyright claims, is reintroduced in both houses of Congress; Qualcomm earns a massive $4.5 billion payment from its settlement with Apple; the U.S. Supreme Court seeks input from the Solicitor General on Oracle v. Google; and China amends its trademark law, increases copyright actions, and earns more than one-third of all 5G SEPs.