It’s never fun to be on the receiving end of a cease-and-desist letter, as you’re essentially being accused of using someone’s intellectual property without permission.
If you receive such a letter, it’s important to pay close attention to what’s being alleged. In most cases, a cease-and-desist letter will include evidence of the sender’s registration and the infringement that you are being accused of. For example, it might have a screenshot of a picture on your website that someone else owns the copyright to, it might have photos of your product that the sender alleges is infringing.
If you are indeed in violation, your first thought might be to comply with the letter. You should be careful, as complying might be seen as an admission of guilt. So, we always suggest you speak with an IP attorney to help you determine how best to handle it. But if you did comply with the cease-and-desist letter and take action immediately to stop the infringement as soon as possible.
Does That Mean I’m Off the Hook?
Unfortunately, no. Infringement is infringement, whether you meant it or not. Just because you comply with a cease-and-desist letter and remove the content that you did not have permission to use in the first place does not mean that the other party loses their right to seek monetary damages if they have a registered copyright or trademark.
What If Someone Else Picked the Content on My Behalf?
We get asked this question a lot. Say, for example, you use an independent contractor (maybe a Virtual Assistant) to upload your blog posts and she chooses the pictures on each one. You are still responsible for their actions taken on your behalf. If you have an agreement with them it might include indemnification provision for their wrong act.
Sometimes cease-and-desist letters come with demands for what can feel like outrageous and excessive requests for payment. If you are still unsure if you really owe that amount or you would like to talk to an attorney about your options, we are here to offer guidance and assistance. Simply contact us at (888) 666-0062 to schedule an appointment.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.