By now, most of us are probably familiar with the concept of memes. For those who aren’t familiar, memes are essentially photos or images that are repurposed with added captions or modifications and turned into a joke. However, it seems that a new bill making its way through Congress could potentially put an end to that.
This is a new copyright bill titled “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019”, also known as the CASE Act, which was introduced by Senator John Kennedy and later again in the House of Representatives by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. What this law does is that should you share copyrighted images online, which is what most memes are made of, you will be hit with a potential fine of as much as $15,000 per work that is infringed.
This means that copyright owners will have an easier time pursuing copyright infringement lawsuits by going to a small claims court, where in the past, it would not be practical for owners of copyrighted content to pursue copyright claims. While this sounds like a good way to protect creators who are pursuing actual legitimate claims, there is a chance for it to be abused by trolls. We’ve seen this happen with patents where companies buy up vague patents and sue big tech companies for alleged violations.
There is a chance that the bill might not be passed. It will need to be voted on before it goes to the Senate, but if you are interested in learning more and maybe even take part in a petition against it, head on over here for the details.