As a creative person, you need a quick, easy and inexpensive way to collect damages for infringement. You may have gotten your wish. Soon there will be an alternative to Federal Courts.
It is all due to the recently enacted CASE Act. It requires the Copyright Office, by December 2021, to create a Copyright Claims Board (CCB) to hear copyright infringement claims. One of the huge benefits is that everything is supposed to be done online.
Creators give up some rights by not going to Federal Court; but the new CCB should provide enough advantages to balance out the loss.
What you need to know:
- You can collect actual damages of up to $30,000.
- You can collect statutory damages up to $15,000, per infringement, up to a maximum of $30,000.00 per case.
- Copyright registration is required to get an award. The minimum to start the process is an application to register your copyright.
- If you register your copyright within three months of publication, or before infringement, then you can take advantage of full statutory damages of $15,000. If you fail to register by this deadline, you can only get damages up to $7,500.
- The board cannot order injunctions. But, if the infringer agrees to an injunction, the Board will consider this in awarding damages.
What are the disadvantages:
- The proceedings are voluntary. The defendant can opt-out.
- If the infringer opts-out, your only recourse is Federal Court.
- The statutory damages are less than what you might be awarded in Federal Court.
- Damages in Federal Court are $750, up to $30,000, per infringement, and up to $150,000 for willful
- The Board cannot award attorney fees unless there’s a showing of bad faith, and then the maximum is $5,000. Federal Courts have the discretion to award all your legal fees.
The new CCB gives creators a faster, simpler, and cheaper way to get damages for copyright infringement. The online proceedings will give all creators a convenient way to protect their works. Take advantage of this new tool by registering your copyrights today.
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by Intellectual Property Attorney Bill Honaker, the IP Guy
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