Sens. Blackburn, Kennedy Cosponsor Bill to Create Small Claims Court So Independent Musicians Can Protect Intellectual Property


U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) are cosponsoring legislation to protect independent musicians.

The senators on Wednesday introduced the Support the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2019. The legislation aims to protect independent musicians and artists from the unauthorized reproduction of their creative content through the creation of small claims copyright courts, Blackburn said in a press release.

Kennedy tweeted, “Like Louisiana, the music industry plays an important role in the culture and economy of Tennessee. I’m grateful @MarshaBlackburn has cosponsored my bill, the CASE Act, which makes it easier for artists, musicians and creative designers to protect their intellectual property.”

In response, Blackburn tweeted, “This is like music to my ears @SenJohnKennedy!

Protecting intellectual property is crucial to the creative community.

Delighted to be cosponsoring the CASE Act with you so that the music industries in Tennessee and Louisiana continue to thrive!”

“Nashville is home to some of the most talented creators in the music industry,” Blackburn said. “These artists need to know that their masterful work is protected through intellectual property laws, and that copyright courts will provide simple, quick, and affordable means to address infringement. I am elated to be signing onto such important legislation, and thank Senator Kennedy for his leadership on this issue.”

Kennedy said, “Creative ideas are your property, whether you’re a photographer or an independent movie director. It shouldn’t cost you a fortune to protect your creativity from copyright infringement.”

“This bill creates a legal avenue for artists to pursue copyright violations more quickly and less expensively,” Kennedy said. “Louisiana’s rich culture and history are rooted in the successes of talented artists, musicians and authors. We need to make sure that Americans’ creative spirit is preserved and protected.”

The CASE Act would create a Copyright Claims Board (CCB), housed within the Copyright Office, with jurisdiction limited to civil copyright cases with a cap of $30,000 in damages, Blackburn’s press release said.

The CCB would be comprised of a panel of three Copyright claims officers who would adjudicate and settle copyright claims. These simplified proceedings would not require the parties to appear in-person and would allow claimants and respondents to proceed without an attorney. Participation in the CCB would be voluntary, and respondents would have the ability to opt-out.

The CASE Act is bipartisan and bicameral, Blackburn said. It is supported by creators including musicians, writers, graphic artists and photographers. This legislation is critical for protecting the members of the creative middle class who rely upon commercializing their creative works for their livelihood, she said.

Groups supporting this legislation include: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, Nashville Songwriters Association, National Music Publishers Association, Recording Industry Association of America, Society of Composers and Lyricists, Future of Music Coalition, the Graphic Artists Guild, the Authors Guild, and Songwriters Guild of America.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.






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