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The Guild Welcomes the Introduction of The CASE Act into the House and Senate

Washington, DC: The Graphic Artists Guild applauds the introduction of The Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) into the House of Representatives, and for the first time into the Senate, in a welcome show of bicameral and bipartisan support. In the House, the bill was introduced as H.R. 2426 by Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA), with Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) signing on as original co-sponsors. In the Senate, the bill was introduced as S. 1273 by Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The Guild extends its warm gratitude and appreciation to these Members of Congress for their attention to this crucial concern of graphic artists.

Currently, graphic artists see their work repeatedly infringed by those who take their creations and use them, without permission and without compensating the artist, creating a loss of licensing income which can be devastating to individual creators and the small businesses they represent. The only course of action small copyright holders have is to take an infringer to federal court in a procedure that is complex, time-consuming, and costly. Furthermore, the legal cost often dwarfs the potential recovery from small copyright claims, making it difficult for small copyright holders to find lawyers able to take their case.

The small copyright claims tribunal proposed by The CASE Act would be an equitable and affordable option for designers and illustrators with small copyright infringement cases. A panel of three “judges” would hear small copyright claims, with damages capped at $15,000/work or $30,000 total. The process would be a less formal, expedited process, with no legal counsel or in-person hearing required. It’s a solution that is long overdue for individual creators and small copyright holders, for whom copyright has too often been a right without a remedy. And it’s a necessary correction for a system in which infringers have been able to act with impunity.

The Guild believes that The CASE Act’s impact will go beyond establishing a fair and affordable process for copyright holders and copyright users. It will hearten creators who have long felt disenfranchised, increasing copyright registrations. It will put a spotlight onto the individual creators of copyrighted works, belying the public misbelief that copyright only serves large corporate interests. And, it will encourage those who wish to use copyrighted works to engage and negotiate with copyright holders.

About the Graphic Artists Guild:

Graphic Artists Guild, Inc. has advocated on behalf of graphic designers, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, comic artists, web designers, and production artists for over fifty years. The Guild educates graphic artists on best practices through webinars, Guild e-news, resource articles, and meetups. The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines has raised industry standards and provides graphic artists and their clients guidance on best practices and pricing standards.