Creativity and Copyright: Legal Essentials for Screenwriters and Creative Artists provides critical resources on copyright law. Expert authors John L. Geiger, an intellectual property attorney and Howard Suber, a 50-year veteran of UCLA’s film school, dissect the laws that govern creativity, idea-making, and selling, and discuss how creators can protect themselves and their works from the legal quagmires they may encounter.

Recent developments in copyright law include the United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s recent unanimously vote to pass the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (CASE Act). The bill now proceeds to the full Senate for debate and a floor vote.

The CASE Act seeks to establish a simplified judicial alternative to federal courts for creators and individual copyright holders to utilize in claims of copyright infringement. The Copyright Alliance, a non-profit organization “representing the copyright interests of over 1.8 million individual creators and over 13,000 organizations in the United States,” released the following press release after the bill’s approval:

“We commend the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing S. 1273, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (CASE Act), legislation that will provide U.S. creators with a viable means for defending their copyrighted works through the creation of a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office.

Our country’s Constitution grants Congress the power to secure the exclusive rights of copyright for creators. Those exclusive rights enable creators to protect their creative works, build businesses, and earn a living. Under the law, when a creator’s work is infringed, the only option they have is to take their copyright infringement case to federal court. But federal court is often far too expensive and complex to navigate for most individual creators and small businesses that own copyrights. What this means is that America’s creators have rights under the law but no practical way to enforce those rights when someone steals from them. The CASE Act will help change that by providing creators with a voluntary, inexpensive, and streamlined alternative to federal court that they can use to protect their creativity and their livelihoods, and in doing so fulfill the purposes of the Constitution.

We thank the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and especially the bill’s original co-sponsors – Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) – for passing the CASE Act out of Committee today and for making it a legislative priority, one that will benefit hundreds of thousands of U.S. photographers, illustrators, graphic artists, songwriters, and authors, as well as a new generation of creators including bloggers and YouTubers. We look forward to working with the Senate and other stakeholders as the CASE Act moves to the Senate floor and moves forward in the House of Representatives.”—from press release by The Copyright Alliance

More information regarding the Judiciary Committee vote can be read at the Copyright Alliance’s website.

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