ALERT!!!! ALERT!!! ALERT!!!
First they came for the bullets because they couldn't take the guns.
Now they come for the ammunition for our meme warfare!!
I came upon this petition when lurking at the site that shall not be named and upon investigation there appears to be some grave danger to meme warriors and sharers. Could this be the left attempt to steal our ability to meme?
The bill would establish a Copyright Claims Board (CCB) in the Copyright Office. This would not be a court and would be entirely separated from the court system. The only option to appeal any of the CCB’s determinations, based on the CCB’s legal interpretation, would be to ask the Register of Copyrights to review the decision. It would be theoretically possible to ask a federal court to review the determination, but only on the grounds that the CCB’s determination was “issued as a result of fraud, corruption, misrepresentation, or other misconduct” or if the CCB exceeded its authority. So if you disagree with the CCB’s legal interpretation, or even its competence to make a decision, you are out of luck. This raises red flags about potential due process and separation of powers problems under the Constitution.
The “small claims” part of the bill is also troubling, in that the CCB can award damages up to $30,000 per proceeding. This amount is only considered small in the context of copyright statutory damages, which range between $750-30,000 per work infringed, unless the infringement was willful, in which case, damages can be $150,000 per work. The $30K cap is a 2x-10x multiple of the maximum awards for small claims courts in 49 of 50 states. (Side note: what’s going on, Tennessee?) So losing a single small-claims action before the CCB could be a financial disaster for many people, potentially for nothing more than uploading a few pictures to your blog.
“The copyright holders who most need, and would most benefit, from a small claims process are those independent authors and creators who can’t afford to press their claims in federal court. Unfortunately, instead of limiting the small claims process to those independent copyright holders that really need access to this kind of forum to enforce their copyrights, the CASE Act opens the door widely, welcoming in large corporations, corporate assignees, and entities that buy up others’ copyright claims and profit from litigation.
We’ve already seen how copyright trolls and big content companies have sometimes abused the federal court system to raise questionable infringement accusations and threaten those accused with high statutory damages. By not limiting enforcement through the small claims process to individual creators, the CASE Act makes it even easier for these entities to get quick default judgments and disproportionately high damages awards. Absent enough protections for accused infringers and reasonable limits on damages, the CASE Act would invite more abusive litigation tactics by copyright trolls and opportunistic claimants while cluttering up the docket with cases that should be resolved elsewhere.
Authors Alliance founder and law professor Pamela Samuelson points out that placing the tribunal within the Copyright Office could also run afoul of the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that infringement claims belong in the federal courts. Placing some copyright infringement claims in an administrative forum may be unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent.
NOTE: Again, this is the left’s attempt to circumvent the constitution and take away our rights. Memes are educational uses and this is the lefts attempt to take away that use under the color of law.