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WPI Copyright Policy and Guidance: Copyright Claims Board

What is the Copyright Cleatance Board

What is the Copyright Claims Board (CCB)?

The Copyright Claims Board (CCB) is a tribunal established in 2022 by the Copyright Office at the direction of Congress. It consists of three Officers appointed by the Librarian of Congress on the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights. The three-member tribunal provides an alternative to the federal court to resolve copyright disputes. The CCB hears “small claims” copyright disputes involving not more than $30,000 in damages.

The CCB is located in the U,S, Copyright Office, at 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20540 which is part of the Library of Congress. However, proceedings are handled completely electronically and remotely, so there is no need to be present in person in Washington, DC, to participate. There have been several Notices of Proposed Rule Making (NPRMs),  The CCB is active and accepting claim filings, visit eCCB to file your claim or counterclaim.

How it works

The Copyright Claims Board (CCB) use is voluntary.  If someone makes a claim against you, you will receive two notices. The first notice will let you know about the claim and will be delivered by the party making the claim. The second notice is a reminder about the claim and will come from the CCB. “Service of process” is the legal term for how a party bringing a claim or counterclaim provides notice to the other party that there is a pending claim against them. This will normally involve providing you with a copy of the claim either in person or by mail. “Proof of service” is the documentation a party must give the CCB showing that it properly provided the other party with the required materials, including the notice of the proceeding.

If you do not want to participate in a CCB proceeding, You can opt-out, by following the instructions included in the notices you will receive. If you opt-out, however, the other party can bring the same claim against you in federal court. If a party does not opt-out of the proceeding and does not participate in the proceeding, or stops participating in some cases, the CCB may enter a default determination against that party. If the CCB orders a respondent to pay damages, and the failure to do so, the claimant can ask a federal district court to take action against the respondent to require payment.  More information can be found in the CCB, FAQ section https://ccb.gov/faq/

If you receive a Copyright Claims Board notice

If you receive a valid CCB notice, that generally means that someone is asserting you have infringed their copyright and has filed a claim at the CCB seeking redress. You have the right to opt-out of having that claim heard by the CCB, but if you wish to do so, you must opt-out on a timely basis. Please, do not ignore a CCB notice. If you have a question or issue relating to copyright, please contact us at copyright@wpi.edu.

Why did I receive a CCB notice?

In most CCB cases, the person who initiates the case (the “claimant”) is claiming that the person receiving the notice (the “respondent”) infringed the claimant’s copyright. There are many ways in which members of the WPI community may have used works protected by copyright in the course of teaching, learning, projects, and research, and it is possible that someone will claim that one of these uses was an infringement and file a claim with the CCB.

If you receive a CCB notice, it does not necessarily mean that you have infringed someone’s copyright. The claimant might not be right, either about the facts or about the law.

How to identify a genuine case notice from the CCB

A genuine CCB case notice will include:

  1. A URL for one or more pages on the CCB website at ccb.gov.
  2. A docket number. You can go to the CCB website and enter the docket number on your notice, and the information on the website should match the information on your notice.

Someone who has initiated a CCB case against you has to provide you with proper notice of the case, either in person or by postal mail, this is referred to as “service.” Under CCB rules you can receive service in person or by postal mail, but not by email. If you’ve received a CCB notice solely by email, be careful. It is likely fake, and you should avoid providing personal information in response.

What to do if you receive a CCB notice:

You will need to decide whether or not to opt out.

If you opt out by the deadline, the claim against you will not proceed in front of the CCB, and the claimant cannot restart the same claim against you in front of the CCB without your consent. If the claimant wishes to pursue the infringement claim against you, they will have to sue you in federal court. In making your decision, consider the following:

  • Suing in federal court is more expensive and complex than the CCB’s small claims process, so many claimants will not want to incur the expense, especially if their claim is not a strong one.
  • 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.

If you don’t opt out by the deadline:

  • The case will proceed before the CCB. The case will be decided by claims officers of the CCB, not by a judge or jury. The CCB predicts that most cases will be handled completely online, so you will not need to travel to Washington D.C., where the CCB is located.
  • You will be bound by the CCB’s decision. If the claimant wins, damages may be awarded and you may have to pay up to $15,000 for each infringed work, with a maximum of $30,000 per case.
  • CCB determinations are final. There are only limited circumstances — such as fraud, corruption, or misrepresentation — when a CCB determination can be reviewed by a federal court or the Copyright Office.

If you don’t opt out by the deadline and don’t take any action in the CCB proceeding:

  • The claimant can proceed (even without your involvement) as long as they can demonstrate you have been provided sufficient notice of the CCB case.
  • The CCB may enter a default judgment against you and order you to pay up to $30,000. Do not ignore a CCB notice.

If you decide to opt-out, you must:

  • 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.

Questions

If you have a question or issue relating to copyright, please contact us at copyright@wpi.edu.

 

Adapted from  "Copyright Claims Board" by Regents of the University of California is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 https://copyright.universityofcalifornia.edu/resources/ccb-small-claims.html