Copyright infringement cases, like all court cases, can be very expensive and time consuming. Because so many authors, particularly self-published authors, make very little money on their work, a “small copyright claims” bill is being supported by the Authors Guild.
The legislation, H.R. 5757, introduced in the House of Representatives “establishes in the U.S. Copyright Office a small claims board to serve as an alternative forum for parties to voluntarily seek to resolve certain copyright claims” and would consist of two attorneys and three claims officers. The bill is now with the Committee on the Judiciary where it will either be the subject of hearings and markup or it will “time out” at the end of the Congressional session.
The Authors Guild stated, “The costs of obtaining counsel and maintaining a copyright cause of action in federal court effectively preclude most individual copyright owners whose works are clearly infringed from being able to vindicate their rights and deter continuing violations. Moreover, sometimes authors want to put an end to infringements that are causing a relatively small amount of economic damage. In such cases, the prospect of a small recovery dissuades some copyright holders from filing a suit that costs more to file than the potential recovery.”