Monday, June 5, 2023

Artists, Tell the Copyright Office Why You Want to Protect Your Copyrights

Artists, tell the U.S. Copyright Office how you would benefit from a court system where you could protect your copyrights and file small copyright claims. Because January 16 is a federal holiday (commemoration of the birthday of Martin Luther King), the deadline for submission of comments has been extended to January 17, 2012.

The Copyright Act protects a wide variety of works of authorship, from individual articles or photographs that may not have a high commercial value to motion pictures worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the marketplace. The copyright owners of all of these works can use copyright law to pursue certain unauthorized uses. Not all of these copyright owners, however, have the same resources to bring a federal lawsuit, which can require substantial time, money, and effort. Moreover, while a copyright owner may want to stop an infringement that caused a relatively small amount of economic damage, that owner may be dissuaded from filing a lawsuit because a potentially small award may not justify the potentially large expense of litigation. While the Act offers the possibility of statutory damages and attorney fees, these benefits are not available in all cases and parties cannot recover them until after the copyright owner has engaged in a potentially long court battle that requires up front costs.

The Copyright Office has been asked by Congress to study the obstacles facing small copyright claims disputes, as well as possible alternatives. Specifically, the Office is to undertake a study to: (1) assess the extent to which authors and other copyright owners are effectively prevented from seeking relief from infringements due to constraints in the current system; and (2) furnish specific recommendations, as appropriate, for changes in administrative, regulatory and statutory authority that will improve the adjudication of small copyright claims and thereby enable all copyright owners to more fully realize the promise of exclusive rights enshrined in our Constitution. The initial notice of inquiry seeks comment on how copyright owners have handled small copyright claims and the obstacles they have encountered, as well as potential alternatives to the current legal system that could better accommodate such claims.

You can submit your comments here.

Artinfo has more thoughts here.


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