The House Judiciary Committee is currently working to create a piece of legislation that will be a game changer for enforcing copyright infringement claims. It would create a small claims enforcement option administered by the United States Copyright Office through remote proceedings and teleconferencing. This would provide you with a remedy for enforcing your rights without filing a federal lawsuit. Everyone's voice is needed to push this through!
American creators are among our nation's greatest economic contributors. The harsh reality of copyright law in the United States, however, is that the one-size-fits-all system excludes most visual artists. The system currently works, at least to a certain extent, for low-volume, high-value creators (motion picture creators, recording artists, etc.), but it is largely ineffective for visual artists and other high-volume, relatively low-value creators.
Because many common copyright infringements, especially of images, are valued at a few thousand dollars or less and given that federal lawsuits can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, seeking remedies in federal court is not a viable option. Consequently, many creators technically have copyright protection, but have no practical option for enforcing those rights.
A small claims enforcement option would correct this decades-long inequity, and would extend protection under the law to hundreds of thousands of small-business creators. Visual artists are entitled to an effective means of enforcing their intellectual property rights. The time has come to correct this injustice.
The seven visual art and image licensing associations listed below formally proposed the creation of a copyright small claims tribunal under the United States Copyright Office through the release of a white paper on February 22, 2016. Read the full proposal here.
Very soon, copyright small claims legislation will be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. We need your help to advocate for the creation of a copyright small claims process. Stay tuned to this page for updates on the legislation. After the bill is introduced, you will be able to contact your members of Congress through this website.
American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property Law - Comments to US Copyright Office (2012)
Industry survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America (2015)