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COD Library Copyright Guide: Copyright Small Claims

Copyright Claims Board

The Copyright Claims Board (CCB), established as part of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, is a new forum for deciding certain small claims of copyright infringement  The CCB will be a lower cost and simplified alternative to the federal court system, where all copyright disputes to date have been decided.

The CBC maintains a website at

How will the CCB Work?

Here are quick facts about the Copyright Claims Board:

  • The CCB sits within the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • Disputes will have these parties:
    • Claimants are rights owners who believe their work has been infringed and file claims with the CCB.
    • Respondents are those who receive notices that they have allegedly infringed claimants’ copyrights.
  • Damages (the money paid to compensate a claimant) are capped at $15,000 per work with a limit of $30,000 per case.
  • Proceedings will take place remotely and electronically. Claimants and respondents will not have to travel to Washington, D.C., where the CCB will be located.
  • Neither party is required to have an attorney, but either one may seek legal counsel.
  • Cases will be managed through eCCB, an electronic case management system for the CCB.

How will you know if a claim is filed against you?

To comply with the CASE Act, a claimant must deliver service of initial notice to you in person, leave it with someone over age 18 at your living address, send it to your living address through postal mail, or deliver it to your agent. Note that email is not considered to be a valid service of notice, so be extra cautious if you first learn of an alleged claim against you via email. An initial notice should include: 

  • the identities and contact information for the claimants or their lawyers, if they are using attorneys
  • information about the nature of the claim against you
  • a docket number
  • information about the CCB including its URL and how to use the eCCB to check the status of the claim
  • your options (opting out or responding, both discussed below) and the consequences of each

You may receive a second notice from the CCB as a reminder of the claim. It may arrive via email if the CCB has an email address for you. It should repeat information in the initial notice, including the claimant’s identity, the docket number, instructions how to view the docket using the eCCB system, and information about how to opt out of CCB proceedings online or by mail. 

Neither an initial notice nor a second notice should include any settlement demands or correspondence purporting to show the strength of the claim against you.

What are your options if you receive a notice of claim?

Should you receive notice of a CCB claim against you, do not ignore it! You have 60 days to respond.

If you receive a claim related to actions connected to your work at College of DuPage, tell your immediate supervisor about the claim and reach out to the College's General Counsel.

If you do nothing, the CCB proceeding will be considered “active” and the claim against you will proceed. You will lose the opportunity to have the dispute decided by a federal court, and you will waive the right to a jury trial. You will be bound by any determination by the CCB, which could include a default judgement of up to $30,000.

You could affirmatively opt-out of the CCB proceeding. This forecloses the CCB as a forum for deciding the claim but does not end the dispute. Should you opt out, the claimant must then decide whether to pursue his or her claim against you in federal court, which is a much more costly and complicated option. The copyright owner could decide not to pursue the claim any further. However, if the claimant does sue you in federal court and ultimately wins, you may have to pay a higher amount than you would have to pay if the claimant won before the CCB. To opt out, you will need to complete and return the paper opt-out form provided with your notice or complete an online opt-out form on the CCB website  within 60 days of receiving the notice.

You could respond to the CCB claim and consent to the streamlined procedures of the CCB. The proceeding against you will then become “active” and the CCB will set the next steps. You will need to file a statement in response to the claim, explaining why you contend you have not infringed the claimant’s copyright and asserting any additional defenses and counterclaims. This should be done within the eCCB system.

Things to keep in mind

The CASE Act and the CCB establish a new forum for copyright infringement disputes as an alternative to the preexisting federal court system. But they do not change the longstanding rights and limitations of U.S. copyright law.

If you receive a notice of a claim against you, this does not mean you have infringed anyone’s copyright. There are many situations when using copyright-protected work is not an infringement. Uses for education, research, and teaching purposes often have strong fair use stances. Some works are not protected at all, or their copyright protection has expired. Each situation should be evaluated individually taking into consideration the work at issue and the circumstances surrounding its use.

If you need media for a project, you can avoid copyright concerns altogether by using works with Creative Commons (CC) licenses. The license terms are simple to understand and follow. No fees or correspondence are necessary. Creative Commons is particularly helpful for photographs. You can find Creative Commons licensed works in many places. The Library's guide to Creative Commons & Public Domain can help get you started.

Additional Resources

Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (PDF)

"CASE Act Signed Into Law: What This Means" - Copyright Alliance

On December 27 [2020], creators across the country collectively celebrated as the CASE Act was signed into law. Naturally, many of you have questions about how the new small claims process will work. [In this article] we answer some of the questions we’ve heard so far, and provide some need-to-know details.

"The CASE Act for Libraries and Archives" - Copyright Creativity at Work, LOC

Calling all libraries and archives! You may have heard about the CASE Act and the establishment of the Copyright Claims Board, or CCB for short, a new forum for resolving copyright disputes involving damages of up to $30,000, staffed by experts in copyright law. But did you know that qualifying libraries and archives can preemptively opt out of participating in the CCB even before any claim is brought against them? Here is what you need to know.

Copyright Claims Board Frequently Asked Questions -

Provides information about the CBC itself as well as small claims proceedures.


Benson, Sara R., Carla S. Myers, and Timothy Vollmer. "CASE Act: Implications for college and research libraries." College & Research Libraries News 83, no. 5 (2022): 214.

In December 2020, Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, a law that aims to “provide an efficient and user-friendly option to resolve certain copyright disputes” by ostensibly creating an alternative venue for creators to bring copyright infringement claims outside the federal courts.1 Participation in small-claims proceedings are voluntary, but respondents must make an affirmative choice to opt-out. The CASE Act generates significant implications for college and research libraries, the library workers employed therein, and the stakeholders served by these libraries, including academic researchers, teaching faculty, and students.

The information on this site is intended to inform the faculty, staff, and students at the College of DuPage about copyright and to provide guidelines for using and creating copyrighted material. The information should not be considered legal advice.

For more information contact the Library's Copyright Liaison.

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  • Last Updated: Apr 21, 2023 1:41 PM
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