University of Miami Law Review


The legislative history of copyright law in the United States and its judicial interpretation resulted in a complex web of statutes and doctrine theoretically meant to further the constitutional goal of “promot[ing] the Progress of Science and the useful Arts.” But because of its complexity, enforcing rights against infringers in federal court became prohibitively expensive for most. The American copyright regime simultaneously allowed the music industry to unfairly profit from the creativity of the under-resourced—particularly, musicians of color.

This Note discusses the disparate impact of the American copyright regime. Then, the Note discusses the Copyright Alternatives in the Small-Claims Enforcement Act, which Congress passed to address the high costs of pursuing copyright infringement claims in federal court. Specifically, this Note addresses constitutional and practical concerns raised by scholars about the Act and how the Act might finally signal a shift in Congressional focus toward the needs of minority artists in copyright legislation.