Today is the first day that the new Copyright Claims Board (CCB) is accepting, well, claims from the public. The CCB has been a big deal in copyright nerd circles for months, ever since Congress snuck through, er, passed the law (the CASE Act - ‘Copyright Alternatives in Small claims Enforcement’) which instructed the Copyright Office to create this new entity. We fretted about the unconstitutionality and the inequitable consequences of creating a quasi-court in the executive branch to hear “small” claims (up to $30,000) that can account for a substantial portion of most folks’ annual income. But ultimately, those concerns were not enough to stop the bill from being tacked onto a must-pass COVID relief bill and becoming law. So what does this new court-adjacent board thingy mean for faculty, students, and staff at a place like UVA?
I’m glad you asked. Happily, I’ve posted a handy explainer over on the Copyright Resources page I maintain. By far and away the most important thing to know is that you must not ignore an authentic CCB notice, or else you risk defaulting and being liable for up to $30,000, regardless of the merit of the claim. Check out my Small Claims page for more info.
So far, my page is focused on what to do if you receive a notice that someone has filed a claim against you, since that is the most likely (though hopefully overall unlikely) way that someone in our community will encounter the CCB. If you think you have a copyright claim that could be fruitfully pursued through the CCB (you think someone is infringing your copyright, for example), you can learn more about how to do that from its FAQ.