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posted by martyb on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:04AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the is-it-like-Judge-Judy? dept.

On October 22nd, H.R. 2426 passed the House, as the EFF explains:

The House of Representatives has just voted in favor of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) by 410-6 (with 16 members not voting), moving forward a bill that Congress has had no hearings and no debates on so far this session. That means that there has been no public consideration of the serious harm the bill could do to regular Internet users and their expression online.

The CASE Act creates a new body in the Copyright Office which will receive copyright complaints, notify the person being sued, and then decide if money is owed and how much. This new Copyright Claims Board will be able to fine people up to $30,000 per proceeding. Worse, if you get one of these notices (maybe an email, maybe a letter—the law actually does not specify) and accidentally ignore it, you're on the hook for the money with a very limited ability to appeal. $30,000 could bankrupt or otherwise ruin the lives of many Americans.

The CASE Act also has bad changes to copyright rules, would let sophisticated bad actors get away with trolling and infringement, and might even be unconstitutional. It fails to help the artists it's supposed to serve and will put a lot of people at risk.

The EFF also criticized the bill in a previous article, pointing out its potential for abuse.

The president of the American Bar Association wrote in support of the bill:

While the CASE Act will provide more cost-effective protection for plaintiffs, copyright defendants will also benefit from the proposed legislation. Currently, defendants can be burdened with significant legal costs and drawn out suits, even where their use is a fair use or otherwise lawful. Participation in a small claims proceeding would cap their damages and likely provide a faster resolution of the dispute.

Participation in the program would be entirely voluntary, and parties could proceed with or without attorneys. Proceedings could be held through phone or videoconferences. Lawyers well-versed in copyright and alternative dispute resolution would decide the claims.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Public Domain Day in the USA: Works from 1925 are Open to All! 87 comments

Works from 1925 are now open to all! The Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School's blog covers the famous works which rise to the public domain on January 1st, 2021.

On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain,1 where they will be free for all to use and build upon. These works include books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (in the original German), silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music ranging from the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, W.C. Handy, and Fats Waller.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessley into the past."
F. Scott Fitsgerald, The Great Gatsby

This is not just the famous last line from The Great Gatsby. It also encapsulates what the public domain is all about. A culture is a continuing conversation between present and past. On Public Domain Day, we all have a “green light,” in keeping with the Gatsby theme, to use one more year of that rich cultural past, without permission or fee.

1925 was a good year for music. Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton were some of those active then. Though some consider it the best year so far for great books and many classics were published then, among them is the original German version of the all too relevant The Trial by Franz Kafka.

Previously:
(2020) Internet Archive Files Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Publisher Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
(2020) Internet Archive Ends “Emergency Library” Early to Appease Publishers
(2020) Project Gutenberg Public Domain Library Blocked in Italy for Copyright Infringement
(2020) ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ Turns 120
(2020) University Libraries Offer Online "Lending" of Scanned In-Copyright Books
(2019) The House Votes in Favor of Disastrous Copyright Bill


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Appalbarry on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:10AM (10 children)

    by Appalbarry (66) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:10AM (#916740) Journal

    Worse, if you get one of these notices (maybe an email, maybe a letter—the law actually does not specify) and accidentally ignore it, you're on the hook for the money with a very limited ability to appeal

    Bad though the law may be, I'd hope that any sentient being would have the sense to actually read a letter or email from their government. I'm pretty sure that saying "Gee whiz Judge, I didn't actually look at the ticket under my windshield wiper, so I shouldn't have to pay" is not a valid defence.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @08:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @08:26AM (#916751)

      Get ready for all the scam/spam letters mimicking these letters then.

    • (Score: 4, Touché) by RandomFactor on Wednesday November 06 2019, @11:15AM

      by RandomFactor (3682) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 06 2019, @11:15AM (#916763) Journal

      I'd hope that any sentient being would have the sense to actually read a letter or email from their government.

      Or take a phone call from the IRS :-p

      --
      В «Правде» нет известий, в «Известиях» нет правды
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:27PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:27PM (#916800)

      How often do you check your spam folder?

      Do you read every political advertisement that you get?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07 2019, @12:23AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07 2019, @12:23AM (#917062)

        - Daily (some times business emails wind up in the spam folder, would hate to leave any business on the table)

        - Enough to determine that it is only a political ad, and not something else

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:51PM

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:51PM (#916808) Journal

      What's the one thing you hear again, and again, and AGAIN from all Government agencies concerning their communications? YOU WILL NOT BE CONTACTED FOR PAYMENT BY EMAIL. WE WILL NOT ASK YOUR IDENTITY BY EMAIL.
      What's the one thing you hear again, and again, and AGAIN from anyone who has half a brain regarding unsolicited emails? If you didn't ask for it, IGNORE IT.

      No, one doesn't ignore a written legal notice through the postal service. That's stupid. Your written legal notice will also indicate exactly whom you may contact about it (a court) and you can independently find contact information for that court. Easy peasy.

      But internet? Fuck that, because NOTHING YOU SEE ON THE INTERNET IS NECESSARILY REAL. NOTHING.

      That's entirely aside from the ridiculous, completely laughable humor that our Federal government apparently believes that a $30,000 claim is a small claim. It also is completely laughable that the entertainment industry's lawyers can show up to what is described as a small claim, as historically that legal term of art is restricted to matters in which two parties appear before a judge without legal representation at the proceeding. And should either party desire to be represented by a lawyer it is remanded out of small claims to district court. Which this ain't.

      And the funniest part is that I'm usually the first to defend the fact that artists deserve their compensation and even the middlemen can take their cut if the artists allows them to. I believe in copyright. But this is complete horseshit. Let the courts handle the claims in court as before. And if they don't want to go to that expense and afford people judicial due process protections then it wasn't important enough to sue over.

      And that it has wide bipartisan support makes it clear that the legislature is the entertainment industry's bitch. By the way, I'm very much in support of

      --
      Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:55PM

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:55PM (#916810) Journal

      ..continuing...

      very much in support of bipartisan legislation as well. It used to be proof that the government is still in fact willing to work when in agreement. But sadly that agreement, these days, seems only to occur when both sides have been well bought. My prediction is that this will sail through the Senate as well. Trump doesn't give a shit about individual people, so it gets signed.

      So yeah, hopefully it will be struck down as unconstitutional. Maybe it's time to make a donation to the EFF for that purpose.

      --
      Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:19PM (3 children)

      by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:19PM (#916844)

      An old post from The Other Site I have saved in my files:

      As a whole, it's not like the police have a great deal of respect for citizens who exercise their rights. So I have to wonder: do they retaliate? Do they suddenly take a really hard look at his driving and see how many things they can charge him with that they'd normally let slide? Do they insist on searching him for guns/drugs/dead hookers/etc. every time he gets pulled over for i.e. speeding?"

      Probably.

      A friend of mine went to court to get out of a speeding ticket. I'm guessing it was a fairly high-priced ticket, because when he was successful, the police waited a year or more, then filed a completely made-up charge of "driving without a license" (he was in his late 30s, and had been a licensed driver for several decades). The charge/requirement to show up in court was mailed to him... at his old address, because he'd moved during the time in-between those two events.

      When he didn't show up in court (because he never received the thing that was mailed to his old address), he automatically lost, and an *additional* count of "flight to evade prosecution" was added. But he still didn't know about any of this. He found out when he was pulled over something like *another* year or two later for an illegal lane change in an intersection. At that point he was immediately taken into custody and sent to jail (because clearly he was a convicted felon with no respect for the law). He talked to a lawyer and was told that because judgment had already taken place (back when the original bogus charge made its uncontested court appearance), it would cost something like $30K to contest it. It was cheaper for him to spend three months in county jail.

      So yeah, the police don't exactly have any reservations about abusing the system if they feel that it's being done to punish someone they believe deserves it.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07 2019, @12:34AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07 2019, @12:34AM (#917065)

        > The charge/requirement to show up in court was mailed to him... at his old address, because he'd moved during the time in-between those two events.

        This whole story seems suspect--

        If he'd just moved, postal forwarding should have been in place. If he moved and didn't change the address on his driver's license before postal forwarding ran out, well, then he's got to accept the consequences. Also, when mail is undeliverable, the Post Office returns to sender.

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday November 07 2019, @02:50AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Thursday November 07 2019, @02:50AM (#917121) Homepage

          Stuff like summons are sometimes marked "do not forward" right there on the envelope.

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Thursday November 07 2019, @03:35PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday November 07 2019, @03:35PM (#917352)

          Define "undeliverable". Presumably his old address was still a valid address, and maybe the new resident just didn't bother to notify anyone?

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @08:02AM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @08:02AM (#916744)

    Because it means the kangaroo court will probably go away fairly quickly.

    And I think it probably is unconstitutional. This pseudo-court is created in the Office of Copyright, which is under the authority of Article I (Legislative branch). Courts for resolving material disputes between parties need to be created under the authority of Article III (Judicial branch). If it seems like the purpose of this court is to put their thumb on the scale, you're probably right, and that's exactly why it needs to be under Article III [wikipedia.org].

    Tribunals under Article I are for things like patent review cases (not determining infringement or damages, but simply review of whether a patent should have been issued at all), or administrative law cases (such as detemining whether some activity is covered by a particular government regulation). The rule of thumb is that if the dispute in question could have been resolved by statute or regulatory powers, then it can also be determined by an Article I tribunal.

    If, on the other hand, the dispute involves disputes between private parties, or involve substantive questions of fact, then they need to be resolved by Article III. This is all about resolving questions of fact in disputes between private parties. So it needs to be under Article III (which, in practice, means it needs to not exist at all, and the existing system is better).

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @12:27PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @12:27PM (#916774)

      How come an AC like you knows this but the lawmakers don't? You should put your knowledge to good use and become a congresscritter. Then the IP industry will pay you good money to look the other way...

      • (Score: 4, Touché) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:22PM

        by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:22PM (#916823)

        The US has the best lawmakers money can buy. The AC on the other hand thinks in terms of constitutionality and legality, because he thinks they apply equally to all in the US, but sadly have been a myth ever since the country was founded.

      • (Score: 2) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Wednesday November 06 2019, @09:34PM

        by fido_dogstoyevsky (131) <{axehandle} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday November 06 2019, @09:34PM (#917007)

        How come an AC like you knows this but the lawmakers don't?...

        Why do you assume that the lawmakers don't?

        --
        It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.
    • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:59PM (6 children)

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:59PM (#916812) Journal

      Depends on how it's actually phrased. If it is a 'court', yeah, gone. But there is long precedent to allow administrative agencies to adjudicate matters and allow for administrative fines and penalties to be applied. The key being that there is still the option for judicial oversight of the claim. I'm not sure that a regulatory branch can get away clean with default judgments from failure to respond or not; I'd hope that would be a court's purview.

      So it gets shot down as unconstitutional, and the next cycle instead of an offshoot of the copyright board they'll use the precedent of Tax Court to establish a judicial Copyright Court. Then we're boned.

      --
      Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by fustakrakich on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:14PM (5 children)

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:14PM (#916842) Journal

        Then we're boned.

        Not if we vote them out. Nobody is going to save us. We are on our own.

        --
        Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
        • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Wednesday November 06 2019, @08:02PM (4 children)

          by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @08:02PM (#916962) Journal

          The trick there is that there has to be someone to vote in as well who's worthy. But I fear all we will have are choices between lizards.

          --
          Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by fustakrakich on Wednesday November 06 2019, @08:36PM (3 children)

            by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @08:36PM (#916987) Journal

            I posted in another thread that we need to hunt down qualified people ourselves and put them under the Sword of Damocles, like jury duty. People that want the job are rarely, if ever, qualified.

            Whatever, the outcome, lizards or otherwise, is always determined by the voters.

            --
            Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
            • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday November 07 2019, @02:53AM (2 children)

              by Reziac (2489) on Thursday November 07 2019, @02:53AM (#917122) Homepage

              As someone elsewhere pointed out: "We voted our way into this mess. What makes you think we can vote our way out of it?"

              • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Thursday November 07 2019, @04:43AM (1 child)

                by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday November 07 2019, @04:43AM (#917172) Journal

                Not saying we can, but it is the only option available under the present system.

                --
                Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
                • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday November 07 2019, @04:54AM

                  by Reziac (2489) on Thursday November 07 2019, @04:54AM (#917181) Homepage

                  So it is... absent revolution, a measure which usually results in markedly worse-than-before.

                  So, I grit my teeth and vote.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Mojibake Tengu on Wednesday November 06 2019, @09:45AM (6 children)

    by Mojibake Tengu (8598) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 06 2019, @09:45AM (#916755) Journal

    This is exactly how I imagine the USA works inside. What's wrong with bankruptcies and ruining lives for profit? Serious crimes against idolic market require serious deterrent... And you Americans voted those lawmakers into power, did you?

    --
    The edge of 太玄 cannot be defined, for it is beyond every aspect of design
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sgleysti on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:51PM

      by sgleysti (56) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @02:51PM (#916809)

      Given the way the vote on this bill turned out, it appears the politicians running against the people we voted in would have done the same thing. Three cheers for a two party system and functionally unlimited campaign donations from corporations.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:01PM (4 children)

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:01PM (#916814) Journal

      Actually nothing, if the punishment fits the crime.

      Now, if you can figure out how to vote people into office and not allow big money into the picture to distort the reality field, we'll give you a simultaneous Nobel Peace, Economics, and we'll throw in a Literature Prize too just because it would be that monumental.

      The problem with Democracy is that it is still better than anything else.

      --
      Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
      • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:13PM (2 children)

        by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:13PM (#916841)

        "Democracy is the worst form of government...except for all the other ones" is how I've heard it put.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
        • (Score: 2, Touché) by fustakrakich on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:17PM (1 child)

          by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:17PM (#916843) Journal

          *The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.*

          --
          Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday November 07 2019, @02:58AM

            by Reziac (2489) on Thursday November 07 2019, @02:58AM (#917124) Homepage

            "Democracy: that ultimate triumph of quantity over quality."
            -- Peter H. Peel

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @06:21PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @06:21PM (#916892)

        Actually nothing, if the punishment fits the crime.

        Crimes should be handled in court from the very beginning.

        The problem with Democracy is that it is still better than anything else.

        The problem is that the US functions more as an oligarchy and is barely democratic at all.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @10:36AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @10:36AM (#916757)

    Maybe it's time for another “shall pass no law” note somewhere in that paperbook.

    // I don't actually in US, but US copyright issues tend to crawl all over the planet.

  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @11:32AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @11:32AM (#916766)

    copyright laws for digital media is state sanctioned racketeering.
    "and / or / else" i copyright you!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:16PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:16PM (#916819)
    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:25PM (#916928)

      What a shock. IP lawyers are in favor of more IP laws.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by istartedi on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:17PM

    by istartedi (123) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:17PM (#916820) Journal

    ...when all you had to do to avoid an unconstitutional seizure of your life savings was to not be Black or drive through Texas.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by jmichaelhudsondotnet on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:33PM

    by jmichaelhudsondotnet (8122) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @03:33PM (#916828) Journal

    This will be used like a weapon by powerful people against their less powerful ideological opponents and will effectively enforce a very fear-based pulbic forum.

    Wow it is awful. I bet they will have a way to pull it right out of the bank too. Poor people who move, anyone who doesn't have a lawyer, will just be a target or a victim, no defense possible. Might as well give every Eric Trump a bat to hit every poor person he doesn't like with.

    And like I write elsewhere, this will give the people who are rent seeking, who do no work, make no art, just camp stacks of paper and mail angry letters with legal threats, collect money.

    It is truly amazing for a system that claims to reward work and punish laziness, for law after law like this to come out empowering people who do not work and just cause problems.

    I have proven you can write and record even 5(or so) albums of music and not get any money for it at all, and that is after learning to play the instruments also. The system says this is not work. I am not a musician even because I don't make enough money as a musician.

    Meanwhile a guy can inherit a sheet of paper that says he owns the beatles Yellow Submarine and he never has to work a day in his life while the song Yellow Submarine plays over advertisements for everything the beatles hated.

    And this guy will have 3 girlfriends and a yacht, call himself a producer, have 5 kids he claims aren't his, 5 lawyers to sue 5 people a week until the end of time. Probably also steals 5 melodies a month from 5 different 'un-signed' artists on soundcloud for use in 5 jingles.

    There are good guys and bad guys in this, pick a side. Some people are literally being paid to burn our civilization to the ground.

    https://jmichaelhudson.net/my-memes/ [jmichaelhudson.net] (scroll down for the ones with green background that will explain some of the dark pattern behind this 'law')

  • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:22PM (1 child)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @04:22PM (#916846) Journal

    Congress has had no hearings and no debates on so far this session.

    Sounds like Moscow Mitch McConnell should do his damn job!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @06:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @06:23PM (#916893)

      On the other hand, it was 410-6, with 16 not voting. Looks like a bipartisan effort to screw over the American people, as bipartisan efforts do the vast majority of the time. You know that when a fair number of Democrats agree with Republicans, something bad is going to happen.

  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday November 06 2019, @05:12PM

    by Freeman (732) on Wednesday November 06 2019, @05:12PM (#916873) Journal

    Second verse, outta get better, but it's gonna get worse.

    --
    Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:28PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:28PM (#916932)

    This is what the government is doing while everyone is distracted with impeachment.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:33PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:33PM (#916936)

      And the bill was sponsored by a Democrat no less

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:56PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06 2019, @07:56PM (#916954)

        Jerks on both sides will take any opportunity they can to push through crap like this. That's why the really bad stuff is hidden deep inside of unrelated bills, and it happens from both Rs and Ds.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07 2019, @12:55AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07 2019, @12:55AM (#917071)

          There is no both! What is it going to take?

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