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Copyright Overview

An overview of copyright and related issues.

Copyright Claims Board

The Copyright Claims Board (CCB) is a forum to decide copyright infringement disputes. This page is for GSU faculty, staff, and students who might one day receive notice that a CCB action has been filed against them.

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act was signed into law at the end of 2020 and mandates that the U.S. Copyright Office establishes the CCB to decide small claims of copyright infringement. The CCB is a lower-cost and simplified alternative to the federal court system, where all copyright disputes to date have been decided. The CCB began accepting claims on June 16, 2022. The U.S. Copyright Office publishes updates about the CCB on its website

How does the CCB work?

  • The CCB sits within the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • Disputes 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.
  • Copyright Claims Officers decide cases.
  • Damages (the money paid to compensate a claimant) are capped at $15,000 per work with a $30,000 per case limit.
  • Proceedings will take place via videoconference or telephone. Claimants and respondents do not have to travel to Washington, D.C., where the CCB is located.
  • Neither party is required to have an attorney, but either one may seek legal counsel.
  • Cases are managed through the electronic case management system for the CCB.

More information is available on the CCB website.

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

To comply with the CASE Act and Georgia State Law, a claimant must deliver service of the initial notice to you in person, leave it with someone of suitable age and discretion living at your address, or deliver it to your agent. Note that email is not 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
  • 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 will likely receive a document asking you to sign a Waiver of Process. Signing does not deprive you of any rights; it simply saves the expense of personal process (someone bringing you the documents) and grants you more time to respond.

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 on 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 notice of a claim against you?

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

Contact the Office of Legal Affairs if you receive a claim related to actions connected to your work at Georgia State. If you receive a claim about activities not associated with your work at Georgia State, you should consider seeking advice from a copyright attorney.

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 waive the right to a jury trial. You will be bound by any determination by the CCB, which could include a default judgment of up to $30,000.

You could affirmatively opt out of the CCB proceeding. Opting out forecloses the CCB as a forum for deciding the claim but does not end the dispute. If you opt out, the claimant must decide whether to pursue their claim against you in federal court, which is a much more costly and complicated option. The copyright owner could choose 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 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.

You could respond to the CCB claim and consent to the streamlined procedures of the CCB. The proceeding against you will become "active," and the CCB will set the next steps. Using the eCCB system, you will file a statement in response to the claim, where you may contend you have not infringed the claimant's copyright and assert any additional defenses and counterclaims. 

The CCB page has information for Claimants (if you are interested in filing a claim) and Respondents, and a FAQ page with additional information.