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Graphic Artists Guild

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New York, NY 10024

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The Capitol Building on December 4, 2018

Update on the CASE Act: How We Ended 2018 and Next Steps

H.R. 3945, The CASE Act was the primary focus in our busy advocacy year. The CASE Act called for the establishment of a small copyright claims tribunal, that would have finally given individual artists an affordable, expedited process to enforce their copyrights when their work is infringed. We’ve long advocated for such legislation and made multiple visits to Washington, DC to join our colleagues in lobbying members of Congress, in both the House and the Senate. In addition, we conducted multiple ad campaigns asking artists to contact their Representatives to request they support the Act. And we spread the word at trade shows such as Creative Pro, ICON, and Adobe Max, asking artists to show their support for a copyright small claims tribunal.

So what happened with H.R. 3945? The bill expired in December, at the end of that term of Congress, with no bill signed into law.

Were our efforts wasted?

The answer is a resounding no. While we’re disappointed that the bill didn’t progress further in Congress, it’s clear that we got the attention of lawmakers. We joined the Coalition of Visual Artists in a last round of visits with Congressional staff in December, and those meetings were very encouraging. Congressional staff from both the Senate and the House were keen to engage in in-depth discussions and to hear from the visual artists who will be impacted by the passage of a copyright small claims bill. We expect the bill will be reintroduced early this year. With so much groundwork having already been laid, we believe the bill will have good momentum from the outset.

This doesn’t mean that we can sit back and expect the bill to move forward on its own steam. First, the forces who oppose the bill will no doubt launch a misinformation campaign. We’ll be on alert to correct any false claims that might be put out about a copyright small claims bill. Second, we still have a lot of work to do in educating the graphic artist community on the bill: what it does and why it’s necessary. We’ve made some inroads, and hope to continue to engage with individual artists and artist advocacy groups. Our dream is that support for The CASE Act will become a rallying cry for visual artists.

Stay tuned to our Advocacy Alerts and Advocacy News. We’ll pass on information as we get it, and we’ll let you know what the next steps are in advocating for a small copyright claims tribunal. You can do your part by spreading the word to your colleagues, friends, community, and anyone who believes artists need a fair shake!