In Chapter 6 of The Unrealized Promise of the Next Great Copyright Act, I discuss the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act which was introduced in the 115th Congress but did not make it through the legislative process before the end of the term. Intended to alleviate the burden on small, independent creative professionals who often do not have the resources to bring full-blown traditional federal litigation, the bill would have established a tribunal within the Copyright Office to adjudicate certain infringement claims of relatively low value. Participation would be voluntary, though the timing and mechanism by which a defendant would opt in (or opt out) of the procedure was a matter of some consternation among stakeholders.
The measure has been re-introduced in the 116th Congress in both houses: H.R. 2426 in the House and S. 1273 in the Senate. As with last term, the bill enjoys broad support, especially from the visual arts industry.