Protecting your intellectual property with a Copyright is one of the best ways to ensure that monetary compensation, and attorney’s fees, are due if your creative expression is used without your permission. Whether your idea is written song lyrics, poem, story, photography, recording, drawing, design, sculpture, or any other fixed tangible medium, you want to protect your property using a Copyright.
We have all heard the term “Copyright infringement” used. Still, many do not fully understand the criteria or evidence required to prove that intellectual property has been stolen or misused. Once it has been determined the elements of the individual’s rights on their intellectual property, specifically a Copyright, have been violated, legal steps can be taken to secure compensation.
In 2020 Congress passed the CASE Act and created the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) to have a more streamlined and less expensive option for individuals to resolve copyright disputes under $30,000. Before the CCB was formed, cases needed to be held in front of a federal court with very complex proceedings.
This board consists of lawyers familiar with copyright laws, and there will be no judge or jury present. This benefits the claimant as juries typically have no knowledge of copyright laws, and litigation in federal court can be costly and take years to resolve.
KEY FEATURES OF THE CCB:
- CCB is voluntary (you can opt-out, and your case will be adjudicated in federal court).
- CCB cannot award more than $30,000 to a party.
- CCB can hear only certain types of claims.
- claims of infringement
- claims seeking declarations your work does not infringe on someone else’s copyright
- claims of “misrepresentation” in takedown notices or counter-notices based on the DMCA
- CCB has streamlined the dispute resolution process, unlike filing suit in federal court.
Though the CCB has created an online claims system, and its processes are vastly simpler than the previous Federal filing system, several steps are still required before a claim is ruled on.
- File a claim: The claimant files the type of infringement through the CCB’s electronic system ($40 fee)
- Compliance Review: CCB staff review the claim to ensure all criteria are met. A passing claim moves on to the next step, and any failed claims have two opportunities to resubmit fixed claims.
- Notice will be delivered to the respondent (the opposing party).
- Opt-Out Period: Before a 60-day deadline, the respondent may opt out or participate in the claim. If an opt-out decision is made, the claimant may sue the respondent in federal court.
- Active Phase: A $60 fee is paid, and a schedule for the next steps is issued from the CCB.
- Response: Respondent files a claim to the CCB asserting their half of the story.
- Discovery: Participants meet with a Copyright Claims Officer and exchange documents and information.
- Making Your Case: Claims or defenses are given by written statements and supporting evidence.
- Final Determination: Documents and evidence are reviewed, or a virtual hearing is conducted before the CCB makes a final decision.
The CCB has created a more modernized court system that allows non-specialists to protect themselves from copyright infringements without legal training, yet there is always a need for professional services to be fully aware of your rights and obligations.
After the initial filing, multiple steps are required to file a proper claim with the board. One of the most vital pieces of documentation needed for a filing is an explanation of why the law supports your claim.
The CCB is looking for references from federal laws, regulations, and federal court decisions. You will have the burden of proving your case; thus, it is best to secure legal counsel to guide you through this process.
If the CCB does not rule in your favor, you have a right to review their determination. This review requires an even more in-depth knowledge of the Copyright claims process.
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