February 19, 2021 Articles

Not Lawyering Up?!: A Review of the CASE Act

The act seeks to change the status quo by providing artists with a real ability to protect themselves and their creations.

By April D. Davenport
The costs and complexity of even a simple infringement case can place the court system beyond the reach of small copyright holders.

The costs and complexity of even a simple infringement case can place the court system beyond the reach of small copyright holders.

Credit: yacobchuk/iStock

Deeply rooted in our history, copyright is a bedrock principle in American law that grants exclusive rights to creators for protection of their original works. The purpose of a copyright is to encourage the production of creative works that enrich our culture, by protecting the exclusive right of artists and inventors to benefit from their creations. However, many artists are not able to benefit from this basic protection, simply because they cannot afford to defend their rights when someone infringes their copyrighted work.

Currently, artists and creators have no practical or cost-effective way to enforce their rights. Because federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright litigation, the costs and complexity of even a simple infringement case can place the court system beyond the reach of smaller copyright holders, especially those in marginalized communities. The benefits of bringing such a claim can easily be outweighed by the high cost of litigation. As a result, many legitimate claims go unaddressed.  

What Is the CASE Act?

The CASE Act, an acronym for a bill called the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019, was introduced to address this critical problem within the copyright system. The CASE Act seeks to change the status quo by providing artists with a real ability to protect themselves and their creations.

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