Bill Introduced to Establish a Small Claims System within the Copyright Office

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) commends Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Lamar Smith (R-TX) for introducing H.R. 6496, a bill “to establish a small claims system within the Copyright Office.” The legislation is designed to support individual creators and small business owners who seek the enforcement of the copyright of their works. Because copyright claims must be brought in federal court, such litigation is often far too costly for most individual creators resulting in photographers having rights without remedies.

The NPPA has been advocating for, and is very appreciative of, Reps. Chu and Smith’s efforts. We are grateful for their support of creators who simply can’t afford to enforce their copyrights in federal court.  We look forward to working with Reps. Chu and Smith, and other interested policymakers and stakeholders to enact this copyright small claims legislation in the next session of Congress.

The establishment of a small claims system consistent with the report issued by the Copyright Office in 2013 has been an extremely important initiative supported by the NPPA along with other visual arts groups as outlined in a White Paper issued earlier this year.

Another copyright small claims bill, entitled “The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2016,” H.R. 5757, was introduced in July of this year by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA).

The NPPA looks forward to working with all members of Congress to help them correct the inequity in America's copyright system and give photographers a realistic and effective tool for enforcing their copyrights.