The CASE Act

What is the CASE Act?

The CASE Act—short for the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act—would create a new small claims board designed to ensure that individuals and small businesses can defend their copyrighted work without the huge costs of going to federal court. That’s it. A simple fix to a big problem.

The bill has already passed the House of Representatives, but right now it is being held up in the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.

What’s at stake?

Imagine you’re a graphic artist. It’s early in your career, but you’re making things work. You’ve got a decent rotation of freelance clients, and a solid Instagram following that loves your art. One night you’re walking downtown, looking in the window of one of those fast fashion chains, and you see your latest piece, on a t-shirt, going for $7.99. You’re flattered and outraged at the same time. Your art is, apparently, in thousands of stores across the world, but where’s the credit? And, for that matter, where’s the compensation?

Your friends insist that there’s no way they can get away with this. They’ll have to pay you for your work. But as you consider your options you realize: Even if you can afford a lawyer, you’ll never be able to compete with the massive legal department of an international corporation. And if you did win in court, would there be any money left after all the legal fees?

This is how intellectual property law ends up as a social justice issue. It doesn’t much matter if the law is on your side when the system itself gives every advantage to those who can spend millions drawing out every legal process, bleeding their opponents dry. What good are rights if there is no way you can enforce them?

That’s where the CASE Act comes in.

How can you help?

Fired up yet? Then it’s time to call your Senators—especially if you live in Oregon. Just call (202) 224-3121 and the friendly folks at the Senate switchboard will put you through. Tell the staff in your Senators’ offices why, as a creator, you support the CASE Act. We know it sounds awkward, but it really does make a difference.

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