The process of passing or even altering legislation on the federal level is painfully slow–which can be a benefit for consistency of law–but it also makes it hard to stay engaged and encourage others to be engaged in the process (Sigh).
But with tomorrow’s scheduled hearing on The CASE Act, Representative Jeffries’ (a sponsor of the bill) office requested I submit a letter of support and detailed how I believed this law could have a positive impact for artists to protect their work.
So I did!
It’s unfortunate that it can take a personal incident to make us realize how important protections for small artists are. But as this lawsuit has progressed, I have been determined for something good to come of it – and to do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
The end of 2018 will bring the 115th Congress to a close and with it dim the prospects for the current version of the CASE Act (HR 3945).
Such is the life of a bill. Once introduced, it then waits for attention by the assigned committee(s) and/or subcommittees who then make changes or otherwise vote upon it. If the bill passes out of the committee, it then awaits a chance to be brought forth for possibly debate and a vote by the full membership of the House of Representatives (or Senate depending on where it was introduced). Hopefully, the bill is introduced in both the House and Senate so it may travel through the legislative process concurrently. If the bill passes both side of Congress, it is then referred to a joint committee between the legislative bodies who are tasked with combining the bills together into one cohesive law which is then sent to the President for signature. The path is long, arduous and often fraught. But it is the cornerstone of our democracy.
While it might seem like curtains for the CASE Act at the end of the year, good news prevails.
First, progress has been announced about the CASE Act: a House Judicial Committee Hearing is scheduled for September 27th. This hearing will help set the stage for the bill’s progress in the next Congressional session. It will be an opportunity for members of the committee to hear more about the increasing need for assistance to small-business owners who face continuing infringement on their copyrights but lack the financial ability to adequately defend themselves.
Secondly, with the prospect of a new Congressional session beginning in the new year comes the chance to improve the bill, adding key policies that might further protect creators and their works. Versions of the CASE Act have been introduced in previous sessions of Congress. With each introduction, progress has been made in not only improving the bill, but also socializing and growing support for its ideas across all stakeholders. Still, there has never been a Senate version of the bill filed.
Thirdly, negotiations will certainly start early in the year. And a fresh start in 2019, will also mean working quickly to identify a Senate champion for small businesses who will lead the fight for copyright reform. Maybe your senator is the leader we need to step up! Take action and send a letter or call your representatives in Washington. Your story could mean the difference.
Jessica Lubetsky is a political strategist. She represents US Copyright Reform on the hill and with coalition partners. She has a Masters Degree from Vermont Law School and runs a consulting firm in Washington, D.C.
The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing for The CASE Act of 2017 – HR 3945 for next Thursday. The goal: to smoke out the opposition.
This bill is a no-brainer for artists and small businesses – but a handful of big corps have come out against it in the past. Changes were made at their request – like, longer time periods to respond, receiving a letter from the copyright office to notify them of the pending lawsuit, etc. – but it will be interesting to see if they have been satisfied enough to get out of the way.
Amazon and Pinterest are two of the more well-known companies who have “concerns.” We’ll see who else comes out of the woodwork in the coming weeks. One thing is certain – any multi million dollar company, that profits off of individual artists’ work and their respective small businesses, should be wary of squashing our rights to protect our work. They could find themselves the target of a public relations campaign that they can’t recover from.
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.