U.S. Copyright Office Celebrates First Year of the Copyright Claims Board

Issue No. 1009 - June 26, 2023

This June, the United States Copyright Office celebrates the first full year of operation of the Copyright Claims Board (CCB). The CCB is a first-of-its-kind small claims forum to resolve certain copyright disputes involving claims of up to $30,000.

In December 2020, Congress directed the Copyright Office to establish the CCB through the enactment of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2020. As the first copyright small claims tribunal in the United States, the CCB is a voluntary, alternative forum to the federal courts. The CCB can hear claims for copyright infringement, declarations of noninfringement, or misrepresentations in notices or counter-notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The CCB uses streamlined, affordable procedures and is staffed by experienced copyright lawyers.

In its first year, the CCB received 485 claims, including from forty-three states and twenty-four countries. Forty-six of those claims are currently in active proceedings, and determinations are beginning to be made. To date, the CCB and the Copyright Office have participated in more than sixty public events to discuss and promote use of the CCB and have reached audiences in-person and virtually from every geographic area of the United States, including Puerto Rico, as well as from a dozen countries.

“Access to justice is an important part of a well-functioning copyright system. Before the CCB, copyright cases could only be brought to federal court, and the process, including the cost of lawyers and discovery, is quite expensive, with cases typically taking years to fully resolve. This resulted in the disenfranchisement of many people who may have valid copyright claims but limited resources. The CCB is a key forum for expanding access to the copyright system to more creators and users,” said Shira Perlmutter, Register of Copyrights. The CCB provides a forum where users of copyright can defend themselves from claims without having to hire an attorney and to limit the potential damages for which they could be liable. Out of the claims received so far, over half of claimants self-represented.

The Copyright Office 2022–2026 strategic plan identifies Copyright for All as an overarching strategic goal: to make the copyright system as accessible to as many people as possible. Launching the CCB is a major step toward copyright for all and expanding access to justice. To learn more about the CCB’s first year of outreach and operations, read our recent blog. For more on the CCB, visit ccb.gov, and subscribe for CCB updates here.