12 Sep The CASE Act Passes the House Judiciary Committee
After an 8+ hour marathon markup hearing, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 2426, The CASE Act, late on September 10th. The bill, which would establish a small copyright claims tribunal for low-value copyright disputes, was passed by voice vote with no dissensions. In the 48 hours preceding the vote, H.R. 2426 also gained an additional seven co-sponsors, bringing the total number to 112 at the time of the vote. The bill now proceeds to the full House for consideration.
Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the bill as an Amendment in Nature of a Substitute, introducing small changes to the original introduced bill which strengthened the intent of the legislation. The amendments were accepted by Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA), who, with Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), had introduced the bill in May. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the Bill’s author (and the author of two previous attempts at small copyright claims legislation), spoke eloquently about the copyright concerns of creators:
“Copyright infringement… is not a victimless crime. Photographers, illustrators, visual artists, authors, songwriters, and musicians all rely upon their protected work to put food on the table and support their families. When their copyrighted work is used unlawfully, it is the functional equivalent of a burglary. Unfortunately, many small creators victimized by infringement often find themselves in a tough spot. They have the right to enforce their work under the law, but are unable to do so in a practical sense.”
Citing the inadequacy of the DMCA takedown notice and the high cost of litigating copyright infringement cases in federal court, Jeffries noted “…many petitioners are unable to vindicate their rights under law. These creators are given a right without a remedy…. The founders of this great country understood that society would benefit if we incentivized creativity and innovation. In doing so, the creative community will continue to share their brilliance with the world and experience some benefit from the fruits of their labor. That is what the CASE Act is all about.”
The bill was widely applauded by the Committee members. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced letters into the record from various groups expressing concerns with projected unintentional consequences of the legislation. However, Representative Lofgren stated she fully supported the goals of the bill and expressed her interest in working with the bill’s authors to address those concerns. Representative Jeffries also introduced into the record several letters of support from various creators’ groups.