Copyright Office Seeks Additional Comments on Pursuing Small Copyright Claims

In a Federal Register notice issued on August 23, 2012, the U.S. Copyright Office requested additional comments about pursuing small copyright claims. Specifically, the Copyright Office is conducting a study to “assess whether and, if so, how the current legal system hinders or prevents copyright owners from pursuing claims that have a relatively small economic value and will discuss, with appropriate recommendations, potential changes in administrative, regulatory, and statutory authority.” Remedies for Small Copyright Claims: Additional Comments, 77 Fed. Reg. 51068 (Aug. 23, 2012) (the “Notice“). The Copyright Office also plans to hold two public meetings, one in New York on November 15 and the next in Los Angeles on November 16, after the comment period ends. Id.

The Copyright Office conducted a prior study (in 2011 – see comments received) and jointly participated with the USPTO in a roundtable discussion at George Washington University (in May 2012 – blog description). This time, however, the Copyright Office “seeks further input concerning how a copyright small claims system might be structured and function.” Id. at 51069. The study seeks information about the following topics:

  1. Nature of tribunal/process
  2. Voluntary versus mandatory participation
  3. Arbitration
  4. Mediation
  5. Settlement
  6. Location of tribunal(s)
  7. Qualifications and selection of adjudicators
  8. Eligible works
  9. Permissible claims
  10. Permissible claim amount
  11. Permissible defenses and counterclaims
  12. Registration (necessity of, prior to filing suit)
  13. Filing fee
  14. Initiation of proceeding
  15. Representation
  16. Conduct of proceedings
  17. Discovery, motion practice and evidence
  18. Damages
  19. Equitable relief
  20. Attorneys’ fees and costs
  21. Record of proceedings
  22. Effect of adjudication
  23. Enforceability of judgment
  24. Review/appeals
  25. Group claims
  26. Frivolous claims
  27. Constitutional issues (e.g., separation of powers, 7th Amendment right to trial by jury, personal jurisdiction, and due process)
  28. State court alternative
  29. Empirical data
  30. Funding considerations
  31. Evaluation of small claims systems
  32. Other issues
For more information and details about the categories into which the Copyright Office is investigating, please visit the official notice. The Copyright Office’s web site for the official comment form is here: