Ch 1: Copyright

pp. 26-27

Documentarian wipes out Warner’s $2M “Happy Birthday” copyright
Judge finds it’s questionable whether Patty Hill wrote the song at all.

Not So Fast – “Happy Birthday To You” May Not Be in the Public Domain

New Copyright Laws

Two new provisions relating to a copyrighted work: (1) the CASE Act; and (2) federal criminal penalties for “illicit digital transmission services” are also incorporated within the Act.

New Voluntary Alternative Dispute Resolution Process Before the U.S. Copyright Office

The CASE Act establishes a new voluntary alternative dispute resolution process for copyright infringement disputes before the U.S. Copyright Office. A Copyright Claims Board is established, comprised of at least three Copyright Claims Officers and two Copyright Claims Attorneys appointed by the Librarian of Congress. The Copyright Claims Officers will have many powers similar to those of a federal judge, with the specific purpose of facilitating the settlement of a claim or a resolution on the merits. 

Claims of copyright infringement, declaratory relief, misrepresentation in connection with Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), certain compulsory counterclaims, and legal and equitable defense may all be brought before the Copyright Claims Board. Participation is voluntary, and when a claim is originally brought before the Board, the defending party may choose to “opt out” within 60 days. Importantly, “preemptive[] opt out” procedures will also be established, allowing Libraries and Archives (both terms are defined by the Act) to avoid any claims brought against them before the Copyright Claims Board under the CASE Act.

Likely due in large part to its $30,000 limit on damages recovery, the CASE Act provides expedited procedures to keep litigation costs low, allowing Claims Board Officers to hold conferences to address case management or discovery issues, but not formal motion practice like in federal court. Likewise, to avoid costly discovery practice, discovery will be limited to that established by the Register of Copyrights.

New Federal Criminal Penalties for Illicit Digital Transmission Services

The Act also adds criminal liability for “Illicit digital transmission services” to the main federal criminal code to close a loophole for “streaming” (rather than copying) certain works, which has now become the primary way audiences consume entertainment. “Major Changes to Trademark and Copyright Law Included in Massive Stimulus Package,” Patricia M. Flanagan and Alex L. Braunstein, January 4, 2021 <>