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Reps. Judy Chu and Lamar Smith Introduce Small Claims Reform for Creators

December 8, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27) and Lamar Smith (TX-21) introduced the Fairness for American Small Creators Act, a bill to create a small claims system within the Copyright Office. The small claims system is intended to help individual artists and creators more easily pursue copyright infringement claims, many of which of are for $3,000 or less. Rep. Chu is the founder and co-chair of the Creative Rights Caucus and serves with Rep. Smith on the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Smith is former chairman of the Judiciary Committee and currently serves as Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Reps. Chu and Smith and the Professional Photographers of America, which supports the bill, released the following statements:

“Core copyright industries are essential to our economy, contributing $1.2 trillion – or almost 7% of our GDP – in 2015,” said Rep. Chu. “Part of that contribution comes from small and individual creators who depend on licensing and copyright to turn their art into a living. However, the increase in digital theft has made it harder for creators to be properly compensated for their work. And most creators lack the resources to challenge copyright infringement claims in federal court. This bipartisan bill would help by creating an expedited process within the Copyright Office that will make it easier for creators to pursue claims and protect their intellectual property. I’m proud to be working with Rep. Lamar Smith on this important legislation, which demonstrates the strong bipartisan support for intellectual property rights that we see in the Judiciary Committee every day.”

“Our founders enshrined copyright protection for creators’ works in the Constitution,” said Rep. Smith. “The Fairness for American Small Creators Act offers creators an efficient and cost-effective process to protect their creations. I applaud Rep. Chu for taking the initiative on the small claims process. And I look forward to working with her to protect intellectual property of all innovators.”

"This is an long-awaited day for visual artists,” said David Trust, CEO of Professional Photographers of America. “For decades, most mom-and-pop creators have felt disenfranchised by America's copyright system.  Fairness for America's Small Creators Act would finally give small creators equity under the law. We express appreciation to Congresswoman Judy Chu and Congressman Lamar Smith for their vision and concern for creators everywhere.  And we pledge the support of hundreds of thousands of small creators to help make this a reality."