Navigating the Copyright Claims Board

The Copyright Claims Board (CCB) is a newly formed three-member tribunal within the Copyright Office that provides an efficient option to resolve copyright disputes that involve less than $30,000 in damages. Use of the CCB is voluntary, but it offers claimants the chance to quickly resolve their small claims before a panel of copyright experts rather than a jury or federal judge.

Requirements for Filing a Claim Before the CCB

The CCB requires the claimant to either (a) register the work at issue with the Copyright Office, or (b) apply to register the work before or simultaneously with filing the claim. The CCB considers only a limited number of claims and defenses, including: 

– Claims for infringement of one of the exclusive rights in the Copyright Act;
– Claims for a declaration of non-infringement of an exclusive right;
– Claims for misrepresentation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA); 
– Counterclaims related to the same transaction or occurrence that is the subject of the original claim;
– Counterclaims on a contract where the contract affects the claimant’s rights in the original claim; and
– All legal or equitable defenses under copyright law or otherwise available.

Under certain circumstances, certain persons and entities cannot be sued before the CCB, including libraries and archives, online service providers, foreign residents, and state or federal governmental entities. 

Post-Filing Process

After a claim is filed with the CCB, a Copyright Claims Attorney examines the claim to ensure it meets the Board’s requirements. The compliance review aims to ensure the claimant stated a valid claim, provided enough information for the respondent to understand the claim thoroughly, and informedly decide whether to participate in the proceeding or opt-out within 60 days. If the respondent opts out, the claimant can bring their claim to federal court or drop it altogether. 

If a claim meets the requirements, the claimant will be notified and instructed to serve notice on the respondent. However, if a claim does not meet the criteria, the claimant has 30 days to amend the claim. The claim will be dismissed without prejudice if the claimant fails to amend a non-compliant claim within 30 days. If the claimant amends the claim within this period, but the claim still does not comply, the claimant has another 30 days to amend it further. If the claim still does not comply after the second 30-day period, the claim will be rejected, and the proceeding will be dismissed without prejudice.

If you have a copyright infringement claim or have been accused of copyright infringement, contact us to see how we can help.

Griffith Barbee PLLC

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