The CASE Act (H.R. 2426) was passed by the House and is now with the Senate.

If it passes the Senate, it will be sent to the President of the United States to be signed into law.  This is a good thing for creators.

In the past, it has been complicated, time-consuming and costly for creators to defend their copyrights. This law makes it much simpler and less costly to do so. This law helps independent photographers, designers, and anyone who creates copyrighted works to file an infringement claim.

What is the CASE Act: The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019

The CASE Act provides copyright owners a new way to file copyright infringement claims.  Now a creator can file more easily through the small-claims process. The law also allows for copyright users to adjudicate declarations of non-infringement; for owners and users to submit claims related to Section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and for would-be defendants to submit counterclaims and legal defenses such as fair use. The bill would establish a Copyright Claims Board within the Copyright Office to hear these claims.

Click here to see the Bill.

There is criticism of the Bill by those who fear this will impact their ability to share content freely or that think this will give companies the ability to bully users and bombard them with infringement claims. The reality is that copyright already exists as do many companies that do nothing but try to find infringement.  Companies already file claims against infringers. This law makes it easier for creators and defendants because it creates the small-claims process. Creators who don’t have the means that large companies have will now be able to defend their copyright.

Fair Use

There is something in the law called “fair use.” Simply put this is when the law says that for certain purposes content may be used without permission. However, the issue of “fair use” is actually far more complicated. Here is a link to a webinar on Fair Use hosted by the Digital Media Licensing Association if you want more information.

The bottom line is that all users need to be careful about what content they “take” and share. All content on the web is not free!  A creator has the right to choose if they want to freely share their works. With images, we have Creative Commons which is a means for creators to let people know that their content may be used free, either with defined conditions or with no conditions.  Please respect copyright. And if you want to use images that are free, select the free filter on iSPY. We have loads of creative commons (CC) content.  When you select a free image, make sure to read the terms to be sure you can use the content for your purpose.

Leslie Hughes is the CEO and Founder of iSPY Visuals, Inc., a search one and done aggregation tool for visual content. Hughes has over 20 years experience in digital media licensing, content production, and distribution, including having been President of Bill Gates’ Corbis Images, and President of the Markets and Products Group for Corbis Corp. She became an entrepreneur 10 years ago. Hughes has consulted or been part of 6 start-ups and 12 acquisitions.  She has an MBA from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, is the proud mother of two and lives and works in New York.

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