Sending a Cease and Desist Letter (stop monkeying around) 1

Sending a cease and desist letter is a common way to notify someone that they are using your copyright protected material without your permission and to request that they remove the infringing use and/or pay up.

The owner of the copyright protected material (ie the author, photographer or commissioner of the original work) has the authority to issue a cease and desist letter.  If the infringing use is on a social media website or popular internet website, look to the TERMS or TERMS OF USE agreement posted to the website (usually a clickable at the bottom of the page) for step by step instructions on how to draft your cease and desist letter.  Generally, the ‘Terms of Use’ on a reputable website provide a clear outline of the information that needs to be included in your letter.   Click on the ‘Terms of Use’; scroll down to the ‘Protecting Copyright and Intellectual Property’ section; use the language provided; and give the requested information to the provided contact.

A cease and desist letter is only effective if it is sent by the owner of the work.  A funny scenario surfaced recently, when a news agency sent a cease and desist letter requesting that a photograph taken by a monkey be removed from a website.   But hold on… who owns the copyright in a monkey’s self portrait anyway?!?  Evidently, a monkey in a national park in Indonesia picked up a photographer’s camera and snapped a few pictures.  (One of them is this hilarious self portrait of the monkey. See above or take a look  at –>  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110706/00200314983/monkey-business-can-monkey-license-its-copyrights-to-news-agency.shtml.)

Since, the news agency didn’t employ the monkey or own the monkey, nor did it license the monkey’s work… the cease and desist letter that it sent… doesn’t have much oomph.

For more info on what to do if you receive a cease and desist letter, see –> http://wp.me/p10nNq-1B 

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq.

vk@kasterlegal.com and www.kasterlegal.com

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