Senate moves bill with up to $15,000 fines for sharing memes online

BY VICTOR SKINNER – A bi-partisan bill working its way through Congress could drastically change how copyright claims are processed, and would create a system to impose up to $30,000 in fines on anyone who shares protected material online.

In other words, the Congress wants to make it easier to sue people who send a meme or post images that they didn’t create themselves, essentially a giveaway to lawyers who sue unsuspecting suckers for a living.

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week approved the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019,” which “creates a voluntary small claims board within the Copyright Office that will provide copyright owners with an alternative to the expensive process of bringing copyright claims, including infringement and misrepresentation …. in federal court,” according to the Copyright Alliance.

Critics contend the CCB created would essentially provide a way for copyright trolls to target individuals or small businesses to secure five-figure default judgements for innocent mistakes. Put another way, someone who shares memes they didn’t make could be on the hook for $30,000 in fines from folks who make a living from copyright lawsuits.

A petition on opposing the CASE Act explains:

Have you ever shared a meme that you didn’t make? Or downloaded a photo you saw on social media? If Congress has its way you could soon get slapped with a $15,000 fine by copyright trolls – with no chance of appeal – just for doing normal stuff on the internet.

These trolls buy up copyrights with the sole intent of sending out mass threats and lawsuits to harvest settlements. Now, a dangerous new bill called the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act is sailing through Congress to make it easier for everyone from trolls to Hollywood producers to sue you. …

In recent years, federal courts have made it easier for regular people to defend themselves from frivolous lawsuits by trolls. But the CASE Act would create a separate, industry-friendly system for copyright claims to $30,000, with no option of appeal.

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Understanding the CASE Act  ( 


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