The Know Your Rights Blog


We first mentioned the CASE Act back in 2016 (see post here), and have had high hopes for the bill to pass into law after it passed the House by a majority vote on October 22, 2019. It moved to the Senate, and seemed to have similar support there until Senator Wyden of Oregon placed what's called a "hold" on the bill.

Senators don't need to have a specific reason for these holds, and it appears that Senator Wyden is interested in seeing the bill languish and die without debate. A group of advocates from across the publishing, music, art, and photography industries (in conjunction with officers from Senators Kennedy and Durbin) have been talking with Senator Wyden's office in an attempt to hammer out details that would move Wyden to remove his hold. To this day, there have been many back-and-forths, but little progress forward.

One of Senator Wyden's chief complaints about the bill is that it would result in frivolous copyright infringement lawsuits that would "bankrupt grandma." This opinion has been voiced before by organizations such as EFF, but is a fallacious argument in that the CASE Act is meant to be a voluntary review of an infringement suit by a tribunal of copyright experts. Either party can opt out of the review, and if they move forward, there are limits on the damages that could be recovered.

The IBPA's Advocacy Committee (of which our own MJ is a member) put out a call to action last week to encourage community members to contact their Senators to bolster support for the bill in the hopes of pushing for a live unanimous consent vote on the Senate floor soon. This "Live UC" would force Sen. Wyden to voice his objections to the bill, and allow other senators to articulate their support.

You can help in the effort by encouraging your senator to support the CASE Act. Go here for a quick and easy way to reach out to your representative.

#copyright #CASEAct #JustOne #infringement

We are pleased to report that our own MJ has been appointed as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Independent Book Publishers Association.

This is a working committee for IBPA, tasked with tasked with identifying, prioritizing, and developing strategies to address issues of concern to independent publishers.

Read the full announcement from IBPA here.

Congratulations, MJ!

*Originally published 8/30/2016, updated June 26, 2020.

You've created your material and sent it out into the world, whether in a print edition or simply "out there" on your blog or website. You have loyal customers and fans. But what do you do to make certain that someone unscrupulous doesn't take your material, adopt it as their own, and put it out into the world as a competing product?

Searching for infringing uses of your images, art, or writing on the web can be a daunting project. Simply typing in the title or description of your work into a search engine will likely bring back matches, several of which may be infringing.

Then, the process of notice-and-takedown begins. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA Act) allows for copyright holders to follow a process to notify and request that infringers remove illegal content from their sites. You really don't need another person involved to send a DMCA letter, but if you are unfortunate to have your material copied in multiple places, it may be like a game of whack-a-mole to get all of that illegal content removed. Many artists, photographers, writers and even publishers do not have the resources to tackle this kind of monitoring and pursuit beyond an ad hoc basis.

Companies and services exist to help content creators more easily find infringing material and issue notice. Case in point, a product listed in this article purports to assist photographers find their material online (for free). Others, such as sneakily adapt the moniker of the original law to promote their services to publishers (for a fee).

Buyer beware, of course.

What should you do? So set realistic expectations for what you want accomplished when you contract with any new anti-pirate service or company. Consider whether there is one product in particular that you feel has been infringed on most? Does that product contain the heart of your mission or is your reputation at stake as a result of the infringing activity? Is the investment in time or money worth pursuing pirates and bad links?

Ultimately, when it comes to protecting your intellectual property, your best move prior to engaging a service to pursue infringing material online is to register the work with the US Copyright Office. Without that record, any DMCA takedown that ultimately results in an infringement suit will likely sit dead in the water (and there is not yet a small claims court for copyright).

#copyright #infringment #online #DMCAact #DMCA #noticeandtakedown #CASEAct

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