U.S. Copyright Reform Bills. Helpful Or Not?

Senator Jeffries, Sponsor of U.S. Copyright Reform Bill

One of the bills, H.R. 3495, states to amend title 17, United States Code, to establish an alternative dispute resolution program for copyright small claims, and for other purposes.

This new code would create a simplified procedure for the processing of small claims and enforcing owner’s copyrights against infringement without always having to make it a more complex and expensive process.

We checked with the NWU and they are supporting and have endorsed this bill. From the NWU website directly:

“Creation of a Copyright Small Claims Court as an accessible, effective way to defend copyrights without having to bring costly, time-consuming lawsuits in Federal court” is one of the NWU’s explicit and longstanding priorities for reform of U.S. copyright law. We support H.R. 3495 as progress toward that goal.

We all know that the process to correcting copyright infringement is a long and drawn out demanding and expensive undertaking. If this reform bill truly does what it states then procedures would be created to use a small claims process that would be simple, time saving and inexpensive.

In our opinion the bill doesn’t go far enough. The small claims process is only an option and the person or company accused of copyright infringement could still choose to have the complaint heard in a regular Federal court. That would permit copyright infringers to “opt out” of almost all complaints by individual writers, since the typical legal costs of a Federal copyright lawsuit could exceed well over $50,000 of which most free-lance writers cannot afford.

In our opinion at Miostorie, small-claims process need to be mandatory in order for it to be an effective way to resolution in these types of cases.

Here is a link to the reform bill H.R. 3495. On the page that displays the bill you’ll see links to the representatives in Congress who brought and sponsor the bill. We ask our fellow writers, free-lancers and bloggers to contact these individuals to ensure they know that not enough is being done to protect the rights of writers.