That meme you shared? It may soon cost you $30,000.

Congress

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Have you ever shared a meme that you didn’t make? Or downloaded a photo you saw on social media? If Congress has its way, you could soon owe up to $30,000 just for doing normal stuff on the Internet.

A dangerous new bill called the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act is sailing through Congress and it will make it easy for copyright trolls to get money from regular Internet users. It will be equally easy for those who can afford lawyers or who have gamed the system to avoid owing money.

Because there is technically a way to “opt out” of the CASE Act, its boosters call it “voluntary.” But the CASE Act doesn’t safeguard that process in any way. The opt-out process is left up to the Copyright Office, with no promise that it be easy to do or easy to understand. As a result, the CASE Act won’t actually help artists get paid and would end up hurting many regular people.

The CASE Act has passed through both a Senate and a House of Representatives Committee, clearing the way for Congress to pass it.

In recent years, federal courts have made it easier for regular people to defend themselves from frivolous lawsuits by trolls. But the CASE Act would create a separate, industry-friendly system for copyright claims up to $30,000, with very limited ability to appeal. Courts also have a history of balancing free speech interests against copyright, something we have no guarantee of in the CASE Act.

The CASE Act is bad for the Internet and bad for free speech. Tell Congress: “Don’t feed copyright trolls and put ordinary Internet users at risk of huge fines. Vote NO on the CASE Act!”

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To: Congress
From: [Your Name]

Don’t feed copyright trolls and put ordinary Internet users at risk of huge fines. Vote NO on the CASE Act!