|This is a friendly message from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.|
Today, Congress is back at work in D.C. after a two-week break. That means today is the perfect time to call your representatives and tell them to vote “no” on the CASE Act.
Stand up for free expression online
The CASE Act is the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act.” It’s a bill that purports to be a simple fix to the complicated problem of the spread of copyrighted content online. In reality, it creates an obscure, labyrinthine system that will be easy for the big players to find a way out of. The new “Copyright Claims Board” in the Copyright Office would be empowered to levy large penalties against anyone accused of copyright infringement. The only way out of this system would be to respond to the Copyright Office—in the specific manner it asks for—within 60 days of getting a notice. Regular Internet users, who largely can’t afford the $30,000 this “small claims” board could force you to pay, will be the ones most likely to get lost in the shuffle.
The CASE Act doesn’t create a true small-claims court, with the hard-won protections for free expression of the judicial system. Instead, claims under the CASE Act would be heard by neither judges or juries, just “claims officers.” And it has a very limited ability for you to appeal, leaving you with whatever penalty the “claims board” decides you owe.
While different versions of the CASE Act have been proposed in previous years, those all failed to pass after hearings. But Congress hasn’t had a single hearing about this bill and hasn’t had a chance to hear about the devastating effects it could have. When it passed out of committee in the House of Representatives, we even heard Representative Doug Collins of Georgia say that the $30,000 cap on damages limited the bill to “truly small claims.” That’s why we’re asking you to take some time today to call and tell your representatives how ruinous that situation could be for regular Internet users.
Congress is back in D.C. today, so urge your senators and representative to stand against the CASE Act.
Activism Team | Electronic Frontier Foundation