San Francisco-based tech companies express concerns with CASE Act

Five San Francisco-based tech companies sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) today, expressing “significant concerns” with the CASE Act. The proposed bill would create an extra-judicial board within the U.S. Copyright Office to adjudicate copyright infringement claims outside the traditional safeguards of federal court. 

The letter — signed by Automattic, GitHub, Patreon, Pinterest, and Reddit — said that the CASE Act, as currently drafted, “will be fundamentally unfair to and create substantial confusion for our users and customers.”

“As drafted, the CASE Act tips the scales of copyright law in favor of certain copyright owners and against rightful users of that content,” the letter states. “Many of our users are creators themselves, and they rely on the protections afforded by the doctrine of fair use, as well as licenses, such as open source licenses, from a large number of third parties. Fair use is critical and high-stakes: it reflects our country’s policy that certain uses of copyrighted material are protected activities that should be encouraged, rather than infringing activity that can be punished. Users of our services regularly adapt and transform copyrighted material for purposes of, e.g., commenting, criticizing, educating, and reporting. Those are activities that copyright law seeks to encourage and that the First Amendment protects. Because the CASE Act limits the rights of accused infringers, it will unduly constrict those fair uses and stifle the voices of communities we serve.”

You can read the full letter here.