On August 26, 2018 I headed down to Washington D.C. accompanied by my intellectual property (IP) attorney, Kathryn Goldman, and US Copyright Reform’s legislative adviser, Jessica Lubetsky.
We met with Joe Keely. Keeley is the Chief Counsel of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet of the House Judiciary Committee – and as Goodlatte’s office put it “the copyright expert.”
Overall, it was a very pleasant – and productive. I shared my story and concerns with Keeley, and we got the inside scoop where the bill was now – and it’s most likely trajectory over the coming months.
With the House Judiciary Chairman – Bob Goodlatte (R) – retiring at the end of his term, the motivation to move this bill (that has next to zero chance of passing this term) seems relatively low. With the high profile subjects such as immigration and others keeping the committee busy, the “non-sexy” IP bills were taking a back seat.
I can appreciate that to a point – but with so many elected officials claiming to be the champions for small business – it left me feeling disappointed.
Kelley also pointed out that the bill itself – The CASE Act of 2017 – HR 3945 – has some logistical issues as well. With just a three judge panel – and millions of copyright infringement claims happening on the regular – the new system could easily be overrun. There is a cap as to how many cases can be heard in a year (which I found out later, they are considering a cap of 10 complaints per artist a year). How many artists would actually use the system is yet to be seen. It’s hard for me, as an individual, to know what kind of need there is for this specific bill.
Yes, there is a lot of copyright infringement that goes unchallenged due to the expense of federal court – but I see that as one of numerous issues.
I support HR 3945 as a move in the right direction – but so many more protections are needed for artists, individuals, and small businesses.
I left the meeting optimistic, but with a lot more logistical questions.
Elizabeth Putsche is the founder of U.S. Copyright Reform. She is a photographer, crafter, painter, wood worker, designer – but above all: a squeaky wheel.