US tech sector and civil right oppose copyright reforms in urgent spending bill

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

Representatives for the US tech sector and multiple civil rights groups are speaking out against the proposal to add the CASE act to the US urgent spending bill. The CASE act should make it easier for smaller creators to file copyright infringement claims, but critics are scared the new measures will help so-called copyright trolls.

Critics of the CASE act believe the legislation will make it easier for copyright trolls to file bogus copyright claims. Copyright trolls file these bogus claims and hope the defendants settle, scared of losing a lot of money in legal costs. The CASE act intends to set up a copyright small claims board within the US Copyright Office. This board will only hear copyright infringement claims below 30.000 dollars. Supposedly this board will work faster and cheaper than a normal court, which is a good thing for smaller creators with limited funds who's copyright has been infringed. But it can also make it easier and cheaper for copyright trolls to trick people out of there money.

Supporters of the new measures claim that opt-outs have been included in the proposals to protect anyone targeted by copyright trolls, but opponents say these measures will not be enough. The electronic Frontier Foundation stated this week:

“Previous versions of the CASE Act all failed. This version is not an improvement, and Congress has not heard enough from those of us who would be most affected by CASE: regular, everyday internet users who could end up owing thousands of dollars.”

The American Civil Liberties Union had called the new measures:

“A controversial provision that would significantly alter the enforcement of copyright law and would have the unintended consequence of undermining free expression online”

Why the US congress wants to add the CASE act to the spending bill instead and rush it through is unclear. It doesn't seem like a smart idea to add an controversial bill to something that needs to get pushed through quickly in an effort to keep the federal government functioning.


Source: CMU