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Copyright and Fair Use / Copyright Claims Board

A review of current copyright issues and fair use guidance, with a focus on the work of theological librarians and the teaching and research activities of the institutions they serve.

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What is the Copyright Claims Board (CCB)?

In December 2020, Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act), which empowered the U.S. Copyright Office to create the Copyright Claims Board (CCB). The CCB is a non-judicial body of the Copyright Office that is charged with deciding copyright infringement actions that do not exceed $30,000 in damages. 

The CCB is an alternative to federal court proceedings; however, certain entities are exempt from proceedings before the CCB (e.g., state or governmental entities, students and employees of state and governmental entities provided that the claim involves work done in the course of their employment). Libraries and archives that may be subject to claims filed with the CCB have an opportunity to opt out of all CCB proceedings preemptively or upon receipt of a claim, and thereby force a copyright owner to file/re-file the action in federal court.

Subject to a Claim Before the CCB?


Type of User of
Copyrighted Content
Type of Institution
  Federal or State Government Entity
(e.g., state university)
Private Institution
Library or archives No Yes, unless authorized signatory of the library or archives has has preemptively opted out of CCB proceedings
Employees of library or archives acting in the scope of their employment No (Note - this determination of acting in the scope of employment will be determined after claim is filed.) Yes, unless authorized signatory of the library or archives has preemptively opted out of CCB proceedings.
Employee of the institution while acting in the scope of their employment No. (Note - this determination of acting in the scope of employment will be determined after claim is filed.) Yes
Employees acting beyond the scope of their employment Yes Yes
Students Yes Yes


Library employee acting within scope of employment: Posting copyrighted content into a course management system at request of faculty.

Institutional employee acting out of scope of employment:  Faculty member uploading copyrighted content to a personal website.

Students (employee but not acting in scope of employment): Graduate student is employed as a teaching assistant in field of study but the claim is about inclusion of copyrighted content in their dissertation.

Additional Resources

Attribution and Disclaimer

This section of Cook Library's Copyright and Fair Use LibGuide is derived in part from ARL's CASE Act Toolkit and from information compiled by the scholarly communication team at the University of California Berkeley Library.

The content of this and all sections of this Guide are for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Libraries and other institutions are encouraged to consult with their local general counsel for advice and guidance on not just proceedings before the CCB but all other legal matters.

This guide compiled from a Libguide of the same name by Christine Fruin at