US Congress Approves Copyright Court Bill, Now Moves to Senate

The bill that would create a pseudo judicial system for copyright infringement has been passed by congress. The copyright court bill now moves to the senate.

Copyright trolls are one step closer to having a justice system they can call their own. As we reported back in September, the US CASE Act would create a whole new judicial system for copyright infringement. The court would cover cases of copyright infringement with fines of $30,000 or less.

The bill is being heavily criticized because it would tilt claims of copyright infringement into the copyright trolls favour. The idea is to move copyright infringement cases quickly.

Now, we are learning that the CASE Act has been passed in Congress and is now moving to the senate. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is saying that it’s not too late to put a stop to this bill. From the EFF:

The House of Representatives has just voted in favor of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) by 410-6 (with 16 members not voting), moving forward a bill that Congress has had no hearings and no debates on so far this session. That means that there has been no public consideration of the serious harm the bill could do to regular Internet users and their expression online.

The CASE Act creates a new body in the Copyright Office which will receive copyright complaints, notify the person being sued, and then decide if money is owed and how much. This new Copyright Claims Board will be able to fine people up to $30,000 per proceeding. Worse, if you get one of these notices (maybe an email, maybe a letter—the law actually does not specify) and accidentally ignore it, you’re on the hook for the money with a very limited ability to appeal. $30,000 could bankrupt or otherwise ruin the lives of many Americans.

The CASE Act also has bad changes to copyright rules, would let sophisticated bad actors get away with trolling and infringement, and might even be unconstitutional. It fails to help the artists it’s supposed to serve and will put a lot of people at risk.

The idea of creating a separate judicial system for copyright infringement has been an idea that has been pushed for some time. The idea is that a whole new judicial system be set up that favours copyright trolls and major multinational corporate interests. So, from an international perspective, what could potentially happen is that the passage of this would embolden corporate interests to try and push harder for these courts in other countries as well.

One thing is for sure, the timeline is looking promising that this could slip through into law. Little surprise why this is scaring digital rights advocates in the first place.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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