Law students can now challenge copyrights
A new rule from the US Copyright Office allows law students to appear before the Copyright Claims Board.
Law students have just prepared a little more for practice.
The CCB, a new court created by the US Congress in 2020, will soon begin to to serve as an alternative forum to federal court for small copyright claims where the total damages are $30,000 or less. Although the CWB has yet to begin hearing the claims, which are program to begin later this year — the new court system promises to ease accessibility and cost issues.
Copyright law is designed to protect original author’s works and cases of copyright infringement must be brought in federal court. But it can be an expensive and time-consuming option for individual creators looking to protect their rights in copyright disputes, such as for photographers who find their images wrongly share on the Internet.
A 2013 report issued by the Copyright Office propose the idea of a small claims court system as an alternative to federal litigation to resolve small copyright infringement claims. Using the framework proposed by the Copyright Office, Congress past the Alternative to Copyright Law in Small Claims Enforcement (CASE) to establish the CCB within the Copyright Office.
Although the CASE law directed the Copyright Office to issue regulations that govern court proceedings, the CASE Act requires that claimants have the option of electing a lawyer or law student “qualified under applicable law” as their representative before the CCB.
Law students – primarily those working in law school clinics and pro bono legal service organizations in which students are supervised by attorneys –cheek an important role in providing expanded legal access to often underserved members of the public.
In December 2021, the Copyright Office Posted a notice of proposed rulemaking proposing to set eligibility thresholds for law students and their supervising attorneys. Commentators in general supported the proposed settlement and the Copyright Office adopted many of the commentators’ suggestions in the final rule establishing the eligibility requirements for law students.
Like dictated in CASE law, law students must provide pro bono representation, which means that students are not compensated for their work. Qualified attorneys, such as law school professors or current practitioners, must also oversee law student representatives and accompany them to all CCC hearings. Customers will also need to consent representing law students.
Representatives of law students are also mandatory meet a competency standard before appearing before the CCB. The final rule provides that law students must have completed their first year of law school, reviewed the CASE Act and relevant regulations, and received relevant copyright training. But the law permit oversee clinics and voluntary organizations to determine what constitutes copyright training. An example offered in the comments of the proposed rule understand have students take a course in intellectual property law.
In order to assist claimants who require assistance in representing themselves, the CWB create a directory of law school clinics and participating voluntary organizations that are available to provide law student representatives. The CCB will make the directory available on its website.
The CWB has additional attributes that distinguish it from the Federal Court. Although the CCB has three copyright claims officers to serve as the court’s judicial committee, these officers are appointed for six-year terms renewable by the Librarian of Congress on the recommendation of Copyright register.
Additionally, the CCB will be limit to hear only three types of claims: claims for copyright infringement, claims seeking a declaration of non-infringement and claims for misrepresentation when filing a withdrawal notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.