·Vote Alert ·

Vote “No” on the CASE Act

The R Street Institute urges all members to vote “No”on H.R. 2426, the CASE Act. This legislation has 135 co-sponsors, and while we recognize that their intent is laudable, we believe the specific language in this bill will have unintended consequences. It deserves additional consideration, as well as the right to be amended.

The CASE Act would create a small-claims tribunal agency for copyright infringement. The R Street Institute opposes the CASE Act for two main reasons:

First, the penalties under the bill are excessive. The mere act of sharing two copyrighted memes on the Internet could cost a family $30,000. That is six times the maximum fine for a federal class B misdemeanor, and over half of the annual take-home income for many American households.

Second, the bill is unconstitutional. The Constitution requires that cases involving “private rights” be heard in an Article III court with the historic protections of independent judges and juries of peers. A case in which a person stands to lose $30,000 is undoubtedly a matter of private rights to one’s property, deserving of Article III protections. Supporters of CASE cite to the Supreme Court’s recent Oil States decision. But while that case permitted a narrow exception to Article III for patent cancellation, Justice Thomas specifically wrote that infringement cases were different. He relied on the research in R Street’s amicus brief, which explained that the decision was distinguishable from infringement actions.

We believe that these issues have not been fleshed out sufficiently in the hasty effort to pass the CASE Act. We encourage members to consider these issues, and we’re happy to discuss them in more detail with interested offices.

Here are some additional resources on the bill, should you find them helpful in making a vote decision:

Potential Pitfalls of the CASE Act, Anthony Marcum, R Street Institute
The Uneasy Case for the CASE Act, Daniel Takash, Niskanen Center
Op-Ed: CASE Act Would Create a Drive-Through Window for Copyright Trolling, Daniel Takash, Niskanen Center

Please reach out to Federal Affairs Manager Aubrey Neal ([email protected]) with any questions or concerns.


Aubrey Neal
Federal Affairs Manager, R Street Institute


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