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The Copyright Claims Board (CCB): A New Forum for Copyright Disputes

The guide explains the new forum for copyright disputes, how to identify a notice, the proceeding processes, and actions the WashU community can take.

Proceeding Processes

Active proceedings have several phases. The timing of each phase will be determined by an order, called a “Scheduling Order,” that sets forth the next steps, deadlines, and key dates.

After a respondent has filed a response to the claim, the parties will exchange key documents and information related to the claims, defenses, and any counterclaims (a process called “discovery”) before arguing their cases to the CCB. After hearing evidence, the CCB will issue their determination, reached by a majority of the Board.

Parties have thirty (30) days to submit a written request for the CCB to reconsider or modify its determination after it is issued if they feel a clear error of law material fact or a technical mistake was made. If the CCB denies a party’s request for reconsideration, parties have thirty (30) days to request review of the final determination by the Register of Copyrights if they feel CCB incorrectly denied reconsideration. A party can seek a federal district court order canceling, modifying, or correcting a determination of the CCB only in very narrow circumstances.

There are safeguards in place against abusive practices. Parties and their representatives engaging in bad-faith conduct may be required to pay an award of reasonable costs and attorney’s fees. The CCB has indicated that it will compile examples of bad-faith conduct in its Handbook, and the eCCB will allow for searches of information about parties and attorneys appearing before the CCB, including any orders related to bad faith. Another important note is that the Office limits the permitted number of proceedings each year by the same claimant, limiting claimants to thirty (30) proceedings filed in any twelve-month period, and to limit private attorneys or law firms representing claimants to forty (40) proceedings in any 12-months period.

When you file a claim before the CCB, you will be asked to choose between having it conducted as a standard proceeding or as a “smaller claim” proceeding; the maximum in the smaller claims track is $5,000. The smaller claims track is even more streamlined, and only one Copyright Claims Officer is assigned to the case.