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Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and Intellectual Property Part 1: Copyright Law

On December 22, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Several pieces within that broad legislation affect intellectual property law, including the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (the “CASE Act”) and the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 (the “TMA”). This post highlights the CASE Act and copyright law.

Importantly, the CASE Act created penalties for certain digital transmission services that make unauthorized use of copyrighted works for profit.

Here are some highlights of the Law:

  1. Unauthorized Streaming or Illicit Digital Transmission Services:
    1. Targets only commercial, for-profit streaming piracy services.
    2. Does not apply to individuals who have accessed pirated streams or unwittingly streamed unauthorized copies of copyrighted materials.
    3. A copyright infringer could be fined and imprisoned up to 10 years for multiple offenses.
  1. Copyright Small Claims (Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (the CASE Act):
    1. Creates a voluntary, streamlined adjudication process for copyright infringement matters.
    2. Establishes a Copyright Claims Board for resolution of certain copyright claims.
    3. The Copyright Claims Board shall have substantial familiarity with copyright law and alternative dispute resolution.
    4. A claimant may recover a total monetary recovery for the sum of $30,000 (exclusive of attorney fees and costs).
    5. To assert a claim before the Copyright Claims Board, the claimant must have registered their works with the Copyright Office I.e. You must have a federal copyright registration certification.
    6. Proceedings before the Copyright Claims Board may be conducted without in-person appearances by parties or others and may take place by means of written submissions, hearings, and conference calls.

Stay tuned for Part II that explores the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020.

The above article is for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice. This article, or contacting Apex, does not in any way form an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Maha Jafarey at maha@apexlg.com.

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