The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act legislation that was introduced in the House and Senate on May 1. Though the bill hasn't become law at this time, the majority vote on Thursday will allow the CASE Act to proceed to the floor for a full Senate vote.

Assuming the CASE Act passes into law, small creators in the US would be able to pursue copyright infringement cases in a small claims court called the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) within the Copyright Office. Claims pursued under the CCB would be limited to statutory damages up to $15,000 per infringed work and up to $30,000 in total damages per case. This would present small creators like photographers with a less expensive alternative to existing copyright claims options.

Following the favorable vote, the Copyright Alliance published a statement praising the Senate Judiciary Committee and explaining the importance of the CASE Act:

...federal court is often far too expensive and complex to navigate for most individual creators and small businesses that own copyrights. What this means is that America’s creators have rights under the law but no practical way to enforce those rights when someone steals from them. The CASE Act will help change that by providing creators with a voluntary, inexpensive, and streamlined alternative to federal court that they can use to protect their creativity and their livelihoods, and in doing so fulfill the purposes of the Constitution.

The full Senate bill can be read here.