The US Congress creates a new path for copyright enforcement

The United States Congress created a Copyright Claims Board through The Consolidated Appropriations Act signed by Donald Trump in December last year.

The Copyright Claims Board will be a part of the US Copyright Office and will deal with copyright infringement claims, claims seeking a declaration of no infringement, certain claims arising under the notice and takedown provisions of the DMCA, and related defenses and counterclaims.

The Board will be a substitute for Court proceedings in such cases, and will be able to award damages up to 30 000 dollars and up to 5000 dollars for Attorneys’ fees.

The Copyright Claims Board will have three “Copyright Claims Officers” who will be appointed by the Librarian of Congress.

The procedure before the Board will be completely voluntary which means that the parties against whom an action is brought will have 60 days to “opt out”. In such cases the copyright holder has to bring the case to federal court.

The Board’s decision can be appealed before the US Copyright Office and in some limited cases before the court.

According to the supporters of this new option, it will allow small copyright owners to defend their rights without the need to go to court where the procedure is more expensive and time-consuming.

Some critics, however, consider this proceeding as not completely effective because it denies certain due process rights and the opt-out option can prevent the dispute to be initiated at all.

Source: Mintz – Seth A. Davidson for Lexology.

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