Today Congress passed a $1.4 trillion government funding bill that included the CASE Act as a last-minute addition. Public Knowledge is deeply troubled by the passage of the CASE Act, which creates an unaccountable “court” within the legislative branch and empowers it to issue unreviewable, unappealable default judgments of up to $30,000 against individual users of platforms and other private parties in copyright infringement claims — potentially without the knowledge or consent of the “defendants” on whom those judgments are levied.
Furthermore, the tribunal would be able to assign damages of up to $30,000, which is nearly half the income of the average American household. This could bankrupt individual artists and creators while letting corporations and sophisticated mass infringers off the hook entirely — without any meaningful right of appeal.
The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Legal Director at Public Knowledge:
“The CASE Act was forced into passage through the government spending bill, which has nothing to do with copyright reform. This meant there was no meaningful opportunity for hearings, amendments, and public feedback. The American people deserve better when financially crippling fines are created outside the traditional court system.
“The bill creates an opportunity for copyright trolls, who can file claims against small-time artists and individual internet users, and sets up a process that can deny defendants their usual rights. It is deeply problematic, and we will fight for its repeal.”
To learn more, read What a Reasonable Copyright Small Claims Court Would Look Like on our blog.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.