The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (the CASE Act) was signed into law in 2020, with the support of the Dramatists Guild. It establishes a small claims court-type tribunal within the United States Copyright Office that allows copyright owners (like dramatists) to bring claims in a less expensive and more efficient way.
The Case Act allows the Copyright Office to establish a Copyright Claims Board (the “CCB”) that can hear infringement claims up to $30,000 (half that for unregistered works), as well as make declaratory judgements in fair use cases. However, the process is voluntary; once a claim is filed, respondents have a sixty-day period to opt-out. The process is also not available for claims against federal or state governments or foreign entities, nor for claims already established in pending cases. Despite these limitations, though, the CCB may prove to be a valuable tool, making copyright enforcement more available and deterrence more likely.
Currently, the Copyright Office is establishing the rules and procedures for the CCB system. These procedures are intended to include a right for a party to be represented by laws students, making the system even less costly for both parties. The CCB is expected to be ready to hear claims by the spring of 2022.