Copyright and Speech Should Be Treated Like Traffic Tickets
Art Law

Copyright and Speech Should Be Treated Like Traffic Tickets

While there may not be consensus on what they are, there is a shared belief that U.S. copyright law has some serious problems. But the CASE Act, which aims to treat copyright claims like traffic tickets, is not the answer. On Thursday, August 27, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the CASE Act (H.R. 3945). The CASE Act would create a “small claims” system for copyright, but not within the courts. Instead, cases would be heard by “Claims Officers” at the Copyright Office in Washington, D.C. And the Copyright Office has a history of presuming the interests of copyright holders are more valid than other legal rights and policy concerns, including the free expression values protected by fair use. Basically every concern we had about the CASE Act last year remains: Turning over quasi-judicial power, which would include issuing damages awards of up to $15,000 per work infringed or $30,000 per proceeding, and agreements which boil down to binding injunctions, to a body with this history is unwise. In addition to the problem of turning the Copyright Office into a quasi-court with jurisdiction over everyone in the U.S., CASE would invite gamesmanship and abuse, magnify the existing […]

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