Copyright Small Claims
By Jeffrey E. Jacobson, Esq.
Based on a 2013 study by the Copyright Office, legislation has been introduced in Congress to establish a “Small Claims” copyright adjudication system. The current bill would create a three “judge” panel called the Copyright Claims Board within the Copyright Office. This new tribunal will be modeled on the Copyright Royalty Board. This panel will consist of three experienced copyright attorneys, one with arbitration expertise.
The panel will have jurisdiction on copyright infringement claims valued up to thirty thousand ($30,000.00) dollars, in situations in which a copyright registration has been filed. If the work was registered before the infringement, the maximum amount of recoverable statutory damages will be fifteen thousand ($15,000.00) dollars. If the work was not registered before the alleged infringement occurred, the maximum recoverable amount is the statutory damage of seven thousand five hundred ($7,500.00) dollars. Additionally, two claims can be made in one action, i.e., two infringement claims each for $15,000, totaling thirty thousand ($30,000.00) dollars. Parties can act with an attorney or without one and proceed as a Pro Se litigant. Parties are permitted to “opt-out” of these voluntary proceedings.
We are eager to see how this continues to develop.
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