The Copyright Claims Board ("CCB") started accepting claims on June 16, 2022. The CCB has seen a great deal of activity, with dozens of claims filed in the first few weeks, mostly alleging online infringement. Some notable trends have begun to emerge.
Background on the CCB
The CCB is a tribunal, located in the U.S. Copyright Office, for resolving smaller copyright claims. The CCB is a voluntary alternative to federal court. Congress envisioned the CCB as an affordable, streamlined way to handle copyright infringement disputes of up to $30,000. The CCB is not without controversy, with some arguing that CCB proceedings will unduly burden parties accused of infringement, and that the tribunal may be unconstitutional.
Claimants have filed 40 claims in the first two weeks of the CCB going live. No proceeding has yet resulted in a final determination, but there are a number of noteworthy trends.
- Types of copyrighted works. The large majority of claims (64%) involve pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works. Most of those are claims for the alleged infringement of photographs. Other claims involve sound recordings (15%), literary works (15%), and audiovisual works (6%).
- Claimants and respondents. Claimants tend to be individuals, and named respondents tend to be large companies or smaller, local businesses. Most claims are for alleged infringements occurring online – on websites or social media. No one person or company is the target of multiple claims.
- No opt-outs yet. The CCB is voluntary. A respondent may "opt out" of the CCB and proceed instead in federal court. To date, no respondent has opted out. Respondents have 60 days to opt out, and we will see in the next several months the extent to which named respondents consent to proceed before the CCB.
- Quick procedural rulings by the CCB. The early rulings the CCB has issued have been procedural in nature, such as orders on motions to "link" counsel to parties. Early indications are that the CCB is ruling expeditiously on procedural motions. The CCB has taken an average of five days to rule on such motions.
The CCB is off to a fast start, with more than three dozen claims filed. A range of copyright owners – largely, photographers – see the CCB as a practical way to resolve copyright disputes occurring online. The degree to which respondents are willing to participate in CCB proceedings will become clearer in the next months. It also remains to be seen how many of the proceedings will result in default determinations – where a respondent does not timely opt out and does not participate. But the early trends indicate that, so far, the CCB is living up to its promise of offering a streamlined venue for hearing infringement claims.
1 Copyright Claims Board, About the Copyright Claims Board
2 As of July 2, 2022, the CCB website site publicly provided information on 33 of the 40 proceedings.
Maimouna Diarra (Summer Associate, White & Case, New York) contributed to the development of this publication.
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