The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law in late 2020, directs the United States Copyright Office to establish a new Copyright Claims Board within one year. The CCB will provide a streamlined, more cost-effective means of pursuing infringement without having to file a lawsuit in federal court.
Claims will be heard by panels of one or three Copyright Claims Officers (presumably Administrative Law Judges) who will have jurisdiction over infringement claims, declaratory judgment actions, as well as claims arising under the “notice and takedown” provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Damages in a CCB proceeding are limited to $30,000 and attorneys’ fees up to $5,000 may be awarded in circumstances involving “bad faith.”
CCB proceedings will be voluntary, with defendants having 60 days to “opt out.” In that circumstance, the copyright owner will then have to puruse traditional relief in a federal court. Additionally, copyright “trolls” — those who repeatedly file frivolous claims — may be barred from filing further claims for up to 12 months.