Copyright Claims Board Began Accepting Claims on June 16, 2022
June 2, 2022
On June 2, 2022, the U.S. Copyright Office announced that the Copyright Claim Board (CCB) will begin accepting claims on June 16, 2022. The CCB is the first-ever copyright small claims tribunal established in 2022 by the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2020.
According to CCB’s official website, “Copyright Claims Board (CCB) is a tribunal located in the Copyright Office and available as a voluntary alternative to federal court. The CCB is an efficient, streamlined way to resolve copyright disputes involving claims seeking damages of up to $30,000 and is designed to be less expensive and faster than bringing a case in a federal court. The Copyright Office has developed procedures to handle these disputes as well as “eCCB,” an electronic filing and case management system.” According to an AIPLA report, the average cost of litigating a copyright infringement case in federal court from pre-trial through the appeals process is $278,000.
The CCB procedures will be conducted online. “Participants in CCB proceedings are only required to provide limited basic documents and information, as opposed to the more complicated and costly process of exchanging evidence in federal lawsuits. CCB proceedings do not include the formal motions used in federal court, and any hearings are held remotely through video conferences.” In addition, the CCB is accessible to anyone, with or without an attorney.
The jurisdiction of the CCB is only limited to three types of copyright-related claims and counterclaims that (i) “claims of infringement of a copyright”; (ii) “claims seeking declarations that specific activities do not infringe copyright”; and (iii) “claims of “misrepresentation” in notices sent under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).”
Unlike the federal court lawsuit, the parties can file a claim for works not yet registered with the Copyright Office, the CCB does require a submitted registration application to the Copyright Office, and the registration is required before the CCB makes the determination.
Participation in the CCB tribunal is voluntary. Once a claim is filed with the CCB, it will be reviewed by a CCB staff attorney to determine if the claim is “compliant”. If the claim is compliant, a CCB Notice will be given to the respondent. The respondent can choose to opt out of a CCB proceeding, the opt-out requires the respondent to complete a paper or online opt-out Form, within 60 days of receiving the notice. Otherwise, the CCB may enter a default judgment against the respondent to pay up to $30,000. Therefore, a CCB notice should not be ignored. If the respondent decides to opt out, the claimant may still bring a lawsuit in federal court.
The CCB determinations will be available online for public review, but unlike court decisions, CCB determinations will not be “precedential”. In addition, the parties cannot file the same copyright claim in federal court once the claim has been decided by the CCB.