Senators Wyden And Paul Put A Hold On Dangerous CASE Act; Will Propose Alternative

from the no-more-copyright-trolls dept

Last week we noted that the House (overwhelmingly) voted in favor of the CASE Act, which is presented as a “small claims court” for copyright issues, but which has significant Constitutional issues, and would almost certainly lead to an uptick in copyright trolling activity. As we noted, the bill still needed to go to the Senate, and it appears that this is (at least for now) being blocked by Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul who have put a hold on the bill, and will introduce an alternative approach.

Sen. Ron Wyden… is crafting alternative legislation to a bill that overwhelmingly passed the House and would create a voluntary small claims board within the Copyright Office… a Wyden aide told us. He and frequent partner here Sen. Rand Paul… recently placed holds on the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (Case) Act… according to aides.

Wyden notes that the concept of enabling more access to copyright holders to an enforcement/remedy makes sense, but he has problems with the nature of the CASE Act:

Wyden says he agrees small copyright owners “are less likely” to reap the full benefits of the copyright system than major corporations like Disney or Sony. But he said the bill would “create an extrajudicial, virtually unappealable tribunal that could impose statutory damages of $30,000 on an individual who posts a couple of memes on social media, even if the claimant sustained little or no economic harm.” The threat of litigation could stifle fair copyright use and free expression and enable copyright troll harassment, he said.

From that, it sounds like Wyden is working on some sort of compromise version that deals with the problems (including the fact that it’s probably unconstitutional) and seeking a better approach for setting up a form of a small claims court for copyright violations. He did this last year with the Music Modernization Act as well, taking a really, really bad bill, and turning it into something that was actually okay (not great, mind you, but was a general improvement — and one that got more or less everyone on board). Hopefully this new bill will do the same.

Unfortunately, it looks like those who have already decided the unconstitutional pro-copyright trolling version is the approach to take don’t really want to deal with Wyden and Paul seeking a better approach:

Bill sponsor Sen. John Kennedy… told us of “two headaches” in the Senate Thursday. “We’re working on it. I’m going to make them an offer they can’t refuse,” he said, declining to name names.

Hey, Senator John Kennedy, did you license that quote from whoever holds the copyright on The Godfather? Or are you ready to pay up to $30,000 for it?

Either way, that quote is fucked up. Wyden and Paul are seeking to make sure the bill is (1) Constitutional and (2) won’t destroy lives. And Senator Kennedy thinks that’s deserving of a Godfather-style threat? What is wrong with him?

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Comments on “Senators Wyden And Paul Put A Hold On Dangerous CASE Act; Will Propose Alternative”

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46 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I am trying to wrap my brain around why so many voted on this legislation almost overwhelmingly. Do they all have interests in tumblr and plan to make huge scores, tumblr having flooded the internet with photos prior to being bought for a billion dallars a decade or longer ago? Are they all lawyers with the biggest hollywood clients? Is it the recording giants they pilfer for? Please enlighten me why they want this TRAINWRECK for America!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

This legislation, in various forms, has been bouncing around Congress for the past 10 years or so, with hearings on it having taken place in both the House and Senate.

Given its strong bipartisan support in a highly partisan Congress, those who read only what is presented so negatively by the EFF and its affiliates are learning but one side of the story.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

"are less likely"

Please to show us the evidence.
Actual real evidence where a creator was actually harmed and unable to use the court systems.

We should no longer accept the word of lobbyists who told us the Boston Strangler would murder their entire industry. They have screamed the sky is falling & flat out lied about being harmed using "Hollywood Accounting" tricks to rip of investors & creatives who worked on such turkeys as "The Empire Strikes Back" which STILL hasn’t broken even on paper… yet they paid Lucas billions for a worthless shitty IP.

Instead of pretending that someone making a meme or even DLing the whole fscking movie is costing them 100 Millions dollars, how about we clean up their accounting tricks first?
I sure would love to be able to make 40 million in a weekend & magically make it look like I am still losing money on monday & avoid paying taxes & investors.

We have veterans dead on the streets b/c we can’t be bothered to make sure they get the care we promised.
We have children going to bed sick & hungry b/c we can’t be bothered.
We have bridges that are ready to collapse, pipes that are poisoning children, planes falling from the sky, tainted meat & veggies, etc etc etc…

And these motherfuckers are trying to create yet another magical system to protect copyright holders from imaginary boogeymen.

We can’t eat IP.
We can’t drink IP.
We can’t use IP to stop the bleeding.
We can stop catering to their every fscking whim, they are having record breaking years but somehow we need more laws to make sure they don’t lose a dime while diabetics are dying because of price fixed insulin.
They think they are losing money now, where do they think the money is gonna come from while the poor keep dying off & no longer can afford a ticket to a movie to try and escape the hellscape this country has become… but at least that fucking cartoon mouse is protected.

Wait for the next shoe to drop, when they demand that judgements in copyright cases can’t be discharged in bankruptcy just like student loans. A single funny image used "without permission" is worth a persons income for a year. A pox on both your houses, you are both disconnected from the reality the rest of us are living in & its sad.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Please to show us the evidence. Actual real evidence where a creator was actually harmed

The claim said nothing about actual harm. The "full benefits of the copyright system" might well include things like copyright bullying, extrajudicial takedowns (ContentID), etc., and small copyright owners really don’t have as much access to that as Disney.

Of course, I’d rather solve the problem from the other end and make sure there are real consequences for copyright abuse by large companies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Agreed

"Wyden notes that the concept of enabling more access to copyright holders to an enforcement/remedy makes sense…"

Why? What is so special about them? Are they paying more property tax for their property than everyone else? Why do they need special access to courts that other victims of theft don’t have?

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Now, how about thoes on the other end...

While it’s ‘great’ and all that they’re so very concerned about those poor put upon creators sure would be nice if, for once, there was some attention paid to the other side of things, where those accused of copyright infringement can face potentially ruinous costs simply to defend themselves, never mind the utterly non-proportional penalties where a $1 song magically becomes worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars that must be paid back.

They want to protect people from being exploited? Great, kill the CASE Act and work on reigning in copyright so that it’s ever so slightly less tilted entirely to one side.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wyden even has to ask Google for permission to use the bathroom.

Yeah, that must be why he introduced a bill to jail tech CEOs who violate people’s privacy: https://www.wweek.com/news/2019/10/18/sen-ron-wyden-introduces-mind-your-own-business-act-to-secure-americans-private-data-from-corporations/

Your easy narrative is false and just makes you look silly and desperate.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Did you read what you posted? Is Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Google?

No, but do you not realize the same bill applies to Google as well?

No, I’m afraid he’s not.

No, I’m afraid you didn’t realize that — which really says something.

Try not to be a total ding dong your whole life, Masnick, ok?

Your projection is well noted.

The idea that Wyden is in the tank for Google is not just wrong, it’s proof that someone is not a serious person. Thank you for confirming that. And while I know damn well who you are, I note your refusal to come out and admit it. Because… we all know what that would do to your credibility.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Probably not… though this probably isn’t Slonecker, just average "die in a fire, Masnick" joe, aka antidirt.

Honestly it’s a shame Karl (not Bode) never did offer his two cents on antidirt’s real identity, because his wife really should know about all the naughty things he’s done on her laptop.

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Anonymous Coward says:

‘And Senator Kennedy thinks that’s deserving of a Godfather-style threat? What is wrong with him?’

The same thing that’s wrong with almost all of those in Congress etc, they are, in my opinion, more corrupt than politicians just about anywhere else, eilling to take payments from anyone and any organisation and industry in order to get sufficient financial backing to ensure they can stand at yhe next elections! The fact that they dont give a toss about fighting for the good of their ordinary voters, the ones who got them elected, is irrelevant!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Votes don’t get these people elected. They’re all in the same club. Since when has America been a democracy? Unelected lawyers writing laws from the judiciary since Chevron in 80s. Illegal laws forced upon Americans is not a democracy. They have glossed over the truth with a fantastic illusion if you are one of them.

GHB (profile) says:

Diffused a bomb... Hopefully it won't explode in the future.

Looks like the court is slowly now understanding that these trolls are trying to turn the system into a cash machine instead of copyright’s true purpose. Just recently, an article is published on torrentfreak (https://torrentfreak.com/us-court-shields-internet-subscribers-from-futile-piracy-complaints-191028/ ) that a court denied the request of the handover of the subscriber’s information by Strike 3 Holdings. They KNEW that this troll is desperately trying milk off of alleged infringers, the fact that:

-Evidence is weak, relying only on IP addresses, such a rush.
-The troll did not use other copyright enforcement action options, like sending a DMCA to the ISP to stop the alleged pirate. Knowing that these other options cannot be used to make money.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Diffused a bomb... Hopefully it won't explode in the future.

Looks like the court is slowly now understanding that these trolls are trying to turn the system into a cash machine instead of copyright’s true purpose.

Isn’t copyrights true purpose the enrichment of corporations and companies by enabling them to take control over the creative works of individuals?

Natalie Hill (profile) says:

After it was announced that these two senators will attempt a compromise bill, so-called "artist rights advocates" (as a trans woman, I despise that stupid name; artist is a JOB, a job which anyone can just quit at any moment) not only continued to refuse to listen to those concerned about the CASE Act, but even kept insisting that the senators were paid by Google. This shows that the music industry will NEVER be interested in open debate or compromise, and thus the only way we can stop these draconian copyright laws is through boycotts and disruptive protest against musicians who support them.

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