Copyright Protection

For over a decade Professional Photographers of America has been working with Congress to establish a Copyright Small Claims process. David Trust, PPA's CEO testified in front of Congress, a little over a decade ago as to why having a small claims process is so important to many photographers. As it currently stands if a photographer's creation is stolen, they can file a claim in Federal Court. However, the average infringement claim is approximately $3,000 or less. Compared to filing a claim in Federal Court and hiring an attorney, which can cost upwards of $10,000. Leaving many photographers without a copyright enforcement remedy. Having a Copyright Small Claims method allows photographers to pursue Copyright Infringement in a more economical and time efficient manner.

Copyright Protection

For over a decade Professional Photographers of America has been working with Congress to establish a Copyright Small Claims process. David Trust, PPA's CEO, testified in front of Congress a little over a decade ago as to why having a small claims process is so important to many photographers. As it currently stands if a photographer's creation is stolen, they can file a claim in Federal Court. However, the average infringement claim is approximately $3,000 or less. Compared to filing a claim in Federal Court and hiring an attorney, which can cost upwards of $10,000. Leaving many photographers without a copyright enforcement remedy. Having a Copyright Small Claims method allows photographers to pursue Copyright Infringement in a more economical and time efficient manner.

Issue Related News

This is the moment we have all been waiting for!

Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) have introduced HR 3945, a small claims bill entitled Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Act of 2017, or "CASE". This bill will enable photographers to pursue copyright infringement in a more cost-effective and timely manner!

Many of you remember December 2016, when Representative Chu (D-CA) and Representative Smith (R-TX) introduced the Fairness for America's Small Creators Act or FASCA. Instead of proceeding with that bill, Representatives Chu and Smith have both agreed to sign on as co-sponsors to CASE.

Both understand the importance and need for a Copyright Small Claims process and thought it was best to sign on and push one bill. Additionally, Vice Chair Doug Collins (R-GA) has also agreed to co-sponsor CASE, highlighting how important it is to for creative artists to have a remedy to protect their copyright.

The CASE Act of 2017 features the following policy:

  • The claim must be brought within 3 years of the infringement.
  • There will be a small fee associated with filing a claim. This is to be determined.
  • The claim will be heard by a tribunal that consists of two copyright attorneys and one copyright arbitrator.
  • Before filing a claim, the copyright owner must provide the tribunal with a completed registration application filed with the Copyright Office or a certificate of registration.
  • Bring a copyright infringement claim valued at up to $30,000:
    • If the work was registered prior to infringement the max amount of statutory damages recoverable is $15,000.
    • If the work was not registered prior to infringement the max amount of statutory damages recoverable is $7,500.
    • The photographer will not need an attorney, since, similar to other small claims processes, this is a self-represent system, allowing you to bring a claim without a large financial investment.
    • You can hire an attorney but you will pay for your own attorney fees.
  • No need to travel for hearings or proceedings. Everything will be done online through video communication channels such as Skype.
  • Partaking in the Copyright Small Claims process is voluntary.
  • If the infringer decides to opt-out, you still have the option to bring a claim in Federal Court.
  • A final decision will be not handed down by the tribunal until a final registration certificate has been issued by the Copyright Office.
  • The decision will be held until the registration certificate has been issued.

To view the entire bill, click here.

Bill Cosponsors
Rep. Marino, Tom (R-PA-10)
Rep. Collins, Doug (R-GA-9)
Rep. Smith, Lamar (R-TX-21)
Rep. Chu, Judy (D-CA-27)
Rep. Lieu, Ted (D-CA-33)
Rep. Nadler, Jerrold (D-NY-10)
Rep. Cicilline, David N. (D-RI-1)
Rep. Cohen, Steve (D-TN-9)
Rep. Cramer, Kevin (R-ND-At Large)
Rep. Deutch, Theodore E. (D-FL-22)
Rep. Napolitano, Grace F. (D-CA-32)
Rep. Poliquin, Bruce (R-ME-2)
Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. (D-OR-4)
Rep. Moore, Gwen (D-WI-4)