Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Consultation on Remedies for Copyright Small Claims (USA)

Artists in both the USA and UK have been given the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to copyright as part of the ongoing process to reform copyright which is occurring in different countries

This is the first of two posts which look at some of current proposals to make changes to the law which affects those who own copyright of their original work and may be concerned about copyright infringement.

USA - Remedies for Copyright Small Claims

You may be aware that the photographers have been working very hard to protect their interests in relation to orphan works.  By default their work probably also protects the interests of artists.  

Orphan works are those where it is alleged the copyright holder cannot be identified.  

The importance of orphan works for photographers and artists is that digital images can easily become detached from their proper accreditation - and income can be lost and the asset value damaged as a result.

Here's a summary of recent developments and where we've got to
Photographers have evidence that the remedies available in law are in practice not available to those who (such as photographers) who have low incomes and who cannot afford to seek remedies in court

In the USA you have got until 17th January to give written evidence in relation to Remedies for Small Copyright Claims

In October 2011, the Copyright Office launched an Inquiry into how people have pursued small copyright claims.  These are typically the sort of claims which might be made by photographers or artists.
Today the Copyright Office published a Federal Register notice requesting written comments on how copyright owners have handled small copyright claims. Specifically, the Office seeks comments on how copyright owners and defendants use the current legal system for small copyright claims; the obstacles and benefits of using federal district courts; potential alternatives for handling copyright claims that have a relatively small economic value; the logistics of potential alternatives; and the benefits and risks presented by different types of processes. Over the next two years, the Office expects to seek additional comments, conduct roundtables or hearings, and meet with stakeholders. The notice of inquiry is now available at www.copyright.gov/docs/smallclaims. The deadline for comments is January 16, 2012.
READ THIS:  Remedies for Small Copyright Claims Statement of the United States Copyright Office before the Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary (March 29, 2006)  

It covers the matters which the Inquiry is considering - and in providing evidence it is always wise to address the scope of the issues under consideration.

The deadline for response was subsequently changed to the 17th January

This is the Submission Form (closes January 17, 2012)

If you have ever investigated pursuing a copyright infringement and/or have tried to take action in relation to a copyright claim, you might want to think about submitting evidence.

The more people who demonstrate that legal remedies are beyond the scope of most people the more likely it is that an appropriate remedy for small claims will be developed.

If you know of any good articles or posts relating to this please leave a link in the comments.


The next blog post will look at what's happening in the UK

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