In 2012, the U.S. Copyright Office began a process of considering creating a small claims court or system for small-scale copyright disputes. This would affect the internet users and independent creators New Media Rights assists significantly.
New Media Rights has been invited by the Copyright Office to participate in hearings taking place November 26 & 27 in Los Angeles on the topic.
Executive Director Art Neill will be participating in panels discussing potential remedies and appeals, constitutional issues, and benchmarks for success of such a system.
In its recent October 19, 2012 comments, NMR argued any small claims system will need to address current misuses of copyright law, abuse of the DMCA takedown process, and the general discrepancy in how attorney’s fees and costs are awarded to prevailing defendants. Throughout the proceedings NMR's goal has been to share the challenges of the internet users and independent creators it assists directly with policymakers.
Abuses of copyright law are rampant in the current system. Creators and internet users regularly face baseless content removals and settlement demands. Right now, much of this misuse and abuse takes place outside of the formal court system. A small claims system for copyright would naturally lower the bar for copyright bullies to bring formal actions against defendants.
Many of the defendants in the new system will be these same vulnerable independent creators and internet users already facing abuse in our informal system. When considering such a significant change to the current copyright system, the Copyright Office must ensure that the new playing field that is created allows defendants an adequate opportunity to defend themselves and pursue those who abuse and misuse copyright law.
Read our full comments on this most recent round of questions