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Copyright Cease and Desist: How to Respond

By Eric Misterovich

If you have been targeted by a copyright cease and desist letter, it is important to take the right steps so as to not jeopardize your rights. Here are some basic items that you should consider after you have received a copyright cease and desist letter. As always, these items are not exclusive, and if you have been targeted with a copyright cease and desist letter you should contact an attorney immediately.

  1. Identify the allegedly infringing material. If the material is provided by a third party or client, identify the contractual relationship between you (as an individual or company) and that third party or client.
  2. Identify whether the allegedly infringing material is, based on your initial impression, actually infringing. If so, consider removing the allegedly infringing material to reduce any potential damages.
  3. Provide this information to your copyright attorney.
  4. Do not respond to the copyright cease and desist letter yourself. Contact a copyright lawyer that is familiar with these issues so that he or she can investigate the matter and preserve your rights.
  5. Your lawyer will identify potential defenses, such as the fact that the material complained of is not protected under copyright law, fair use, license, acquiescence, laches, or waiver.
  6. Once these defenses are identified, your copyright attorney will advise you on whether the materials are, in fact, infringing. If they are, he or she will advise you of the risk involved in continuing to infringe. Additionally, he or she may advise you to remove the material or attempt to negotiate a settlement. If the materials are not infringing, he or she will use the defenses identified through case law research to draft a response letter that utilizes those defenses to educate the complaining party and resolve their concerns.
  7. If litigation is necessary, your copyright attorney will represent you in that litigation and assert the appropriate defenses to the filed complaint.

Since copyright law carries penalties of up to $150,000 plus attorneys fees per work infringed, it is important that you contact an attorney to handle any response needed to a copyright cease and desist letter. If you have received a copyright cease and desist letter, contact the copyright lawyers at Revision Legal today at 855-473-8474, or use the contact form at the right to send us an email.

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