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Creators' lobby wins copyright small claims track

20 September 2012

The NUJ has welcomed the 1 October launch of a small claims track to deal with copyright cases.

This will make it possible for creators to pursue their cases, as no such mechanism has existed for many years. The process will limit fixed costs and allow damages of up to £5,000 per case. The Intellectual Property Office has estimated that around 150 small firms will benefit from the service every year, providing an annual boost to UK business of £350,000.

The recommendation for a small claims service was made in the Hargreaves review, Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, which indicated that around 1 in 6 (17 per cent) of small and medium sized businesses had given up attempting to enforce their rights owing to High Court costs.

John Toner, NUJ freelance organiser, said:

"The absence of such a procedure for many years has denied creators access to justice when their copyright has been infringed
"For our members, it has been incredibly frustrating that they had been restricted from seeking redress through the courts. Now infringers can be pursued at a cost appropriate to the level of the infringement. In the long term, we hope the small claims track will act as a deterrent to would-be infringers.  Our message is clear: do not wait until your copyright has been infringed before joining the NUJ. Join now, if you want to make use of this service."

The new track has come about after many years of lobbying by the NUJ and its colleagues in the Creators' Rights Alliance.  The NUJ will be organising a training course explaining how to use the procedure.

Tags: small claims, copyright, freelance