Cease and desist letter for copyright infringement 2023 (guide & free samples)

This post covers cease and desist letter for copyright infringement.

Copyright infringement is widespread in the United States, particularly with increased internet access.

But thanks to cease and desist letter, it is a quick and effective tool to deal with copyright infringement and prevent future infringement.

How do you write a strong-worded cease and desist letter for copyright infringement?

RELAX! Here, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about it, including

  • what is cease and desist letter for copyright infringement.
  • is the cease and desist letter for copyright infringement legally binding?
  • why do you need it?
  • Can you sue without a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement?
  • What if your letter did not work? what should you do?
  • Do you need a lawyer for it?
  • How to write a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement
  • format of cease and desist letter for copyright infringement.
  • Sample cease and desist letter for copyright infringement
  • etc.

I won’t go into detail about what copyright infringement is, the different types of infringement, the elements, how to prove it, and so on. I have a detailed guide that addresses these concerns. If you’re curious, you can learn more about it here.

I will only discuss cease and desist letters for copyright infringement in this article.

Let’s get started

What is cease and desist letter for copyright infringement?

A cease and desist letter for copyright infringement is a brief statement of facts written by a copyright holder to inform the infringer that using his/her copyrighted materials is illegal and that he must stop immediately or face legal action.

You should consider sending a cease and desist letter if you are the victim of any of the following copyright infringement activities.

  • Someone has copied or  reproduced your copyrighted work without your permission
  • Someone has Distributed your copyrighted work without your permission
  • Someone has translated your copyrighted work without your permission
  • Rental of your original work without your consent
  • Public exhibition, performance, or other communication to the public of your work.
  • etc.

Why do you need a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement?

A cease and desist letter for copyright infringement is a formal request that the recipient stop (“cease”) and refrain (“desist”) from infringing your copyrights immediately.

It is a reasonable warning to the infringer that legal action will be taken unless the infringing activities cease immediately.

As a result, a well-written letter can;

  • Help you stop the infringing activity right away.
  • Educating the other party about their infringing behavior. (People frequently believe that images, photographs, text, and music available online are free to use, without considering the potential for copyright infringement.)
  • help you avoid the time-consuming, costly, and stressful litigation process
  • Serve as additional evidence if your case goes to court.

Is the cease and desist letter for copyright infringement legally binding?

No, other than your threat of future legal action, a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement has no legal authority.

Because your letter lacks legal authority, the police will be unable to enforce it.

If the recipient’s response becomes more aggressive, you may need to take additional legal action (you will see them later in this post).

Do you need a lawyer for cease and desist letter for copyright infringement?

Although you can write and send a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement on your own or simply use an online template/sample, it is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer before sending your letter to understand the risks and explore possible options.

Because copyright infringement is a complicated legal subject, your letter may have more power and influence if it is sent by an attorney.

Additionally, consulting an attorney will provide you with the confidence that you are on solid ground if you need to negotiate a compromise or pursue the threatened legal action.

Can you sue without a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement?

Yes, you can file your copyright lawsuit without first sending a cease and desist letter.

Most civil suits do not require this letter in order to proceed, but it is extremely useful.

A cease and desist letter can jumpstart efforts to settle the matter without going to court, saving not only time but also money on legal counsel and court fees.

Furthermore, the cease and desist letter is the first formal step in notifying the violator that they are in violation of the law.

What if the copyright infringement cease and desist letter did not work?

If your copyright infringement cease and desist letter is ignored or worsens the situation, you will almost certainly need to take the following legal action.

  1. You can ask the court for a legally binding cease and desist order.
  2. You may seek a restraining order from the court to prevent the other party from infringing your copyrights.
  3. You may also seek monetary compensation

NB: In order to file the lawsuit, you must first formally register your original work with the US Copyright Office.

How to write a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement

Copyright infringement cease and desist letter is written in business letter format.  Begin your letter with your address and contact information, followed by a date and the infringer’s address, and state that you are writing to order the recipient to cease infringement activities before taking legal action; don’t forget to include the details and evidence of infringement. Close with “Sincerely,” followed by your name and signature.

REMEMBER! the purpose of a cease and desist letter for copyright infringement is to request that the recipient immediately cease (“cease”) and refrain (“desist”) from infringing your copyrighted works.

Therefore, to write an effective cease and desist letter for copyright infringement, do the following;

  • Provide your name and contact information
  • Include the date of the letter
  • Include the recipient’s address
  • if you’ve registered the work, provide the Copyright Registration Number
  • Clearly states that you want him to stop infringing your copyrighted works
  • Provide specifics about the acts of copyright infringement and request that the party cease these actions by a certain date.
  • Explain what will happens if he fails to heed your letter
  • Attach documents, records, or other proof for easy reference.
  • Maintain a professional tone
  • Be honest

additional helpful hints

  • Send the letter certified mail so that you have proof that it was delivered.
  • Keep a copy.

Format of cease and desist letter for copyright infringement

The following is the format for your cease and desist letter for copyright infringement:

  • Your Address/ Your attorney’s address
  • Date
  • recipient’s address
  • Subject line
  • Salutation
  • [opening paragraph]- A statement that you want him to stop infringing your copyrighted works
  • [body paragraphs]- details of the infringement activities, the applicable law violated, etc.
  • [closing paragraphs] – provide the time to act, explain what next if he will not heed your letter
  • name and signature

Sample cease and desist letter for copyright infringement

Your Name
Your Address
City, State, Zip Code
phone
email

DATE

[Recipient’s Name]
[Recipient’s Street Address]
[Recipient’s City, State, and Zip Code]

RE: Cease and Desist All Copyright Infringements 

Dear [Recipient’s name]

It has come to my attention that you have used my copyrighted work with Registration Number entitled [name of work] (the “Work”) in the preparation of your work derived from it without my permission.

This is to notify you that I have reserved all rights to the Work, which was first published on [date] in [name of publication] and is fully protected under the United States Copyright Act of 1976.

Your work, which is titled [name of infringing work] and appears [where infringing work has appeared], is essentially identical to the Work and clearly uses the Work as its basis.

You did not seek or receive permission to use the Work as the foundation for [name of infringing work], nor did you as for permission to make or distribute copies of it. As a result, I believe you have willfully violated my rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and may be liable for statutory damages of up to $150,000 under Section 504(c)(2).

I demand that you immediately stop using and distributing all infringing works derived from the Work, as well as all copies, including electronic copies, of same, that you deliver to me, if applicable, all unused, undistributed copies of same, or destroy such copies immediately, and that you refrain from future infringements of my rights.

If I do not receive an affirmative response from you by [date] indicating that you have fully complied with these requirements, I will consider using any and all legal remedies available to remedy the situation.

Sincerely

[signature]

[your name]

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Isack Kimaro
Isack Kimaro

Editor-in-chief and founder of sherianajamii.com. Holder of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Lawyer by profession and blogger by passion