CCIA Expresses Concern With Copyright Proposal In Spending Bill

BY Heather Greenfield
December 7, 2020

Washington — Reports indicate there may be a package combining several pieces of proposed intellectual property legislation with a spending bill that must be signed by December 11th. The intellectual property part of the legislation may include the CASE Act, Trademark Modernization Act, and a proposal regarding “streaming.”

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has serious concerns about substance and process in particular with copyright small claims legislation, S. 1273/H.R. 2426 (the CASE Act). CCIA does not oppose compromise language reached with respect to “streaming.”

As CCIA previously testified before Congress, the Association would support a small claims framework that provides individual rightsholders inexpensive relief from infringement, while not enabling abusive litigants to short-circuit existing federal safeguards. Unfortunately, the way that the CASE Act is structured has serious problems. As the Copyright Office noted in its 2013 report, parties’ consent to a small claims proceeding is predicated upon litigants affirmatively waiving their constitutionally guaranteed rights of trial by jury and appellate relief.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“While CCIA does not oppose compromise language regarding streaming, the inclusion of the CASE Act, a controversial new venue for federal litigation in spending legislation is inappropriate. Exposing small businesses and Internet users to high penalties without effective due process in a new venue would enable litigants to circumvent the existing safeguards provided by the federal judicial system.”

The following can be attributed to CCIA CEO Emeritus Ed Black:

“These issues are complex and important, and we are confident they can be dealt with best in the next Congress with new leadership that will have a chance to better understand their impact on thousands of businesses of all sizes. Industry looks forward to working with leaders in the next Congress to address controversial proposals that would have a particularly serious impact on small businesses and the users that rely on them.”

The following can be attributed to CCIA VP of Public Policy Arthur Sidney:

“CCIA has serious concerns with the opaque and unconventional process of putting forward controversial intellectual property legislation that has not received a hearing this Congress and attaching it to a must-pass spending bill. Permitting the CASE Act and Trademark Modernization Act to go forward in this manner without hearings or markups on both sides of the aisle is a repudiation of due process and democratic principles. Following this pattern, the Congress could attach a host of controversial bills onto must-pass legislation, surely this was not intended by the legislative process or our system of fair governance to attach bills that have not been fully vetted.”

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