Cease and Desist Letter (Copyright Infringement)
For Settlement Purposes Only ‒ Not Admissible As Evidence
[Date of Letter]
VIA PRIORITY MAIL & EMAIL ([Recipient’s email address])
Attention: [Responsible Party]
Re: Cease and Desist Use of Copyrighted Material
Dear [Responsible Party]:
I am a [professional photographer] and the owner of [Company Name], a [corporation/limited liability company] formed in the State of [State]. Without permission, [Name of Infringing Party] (“Infringing Party) has used my [photograph] of [description of copyrighted work] on its website. A copy of the original work is attached hereto as Exhibit A (the “[Photograph]).
Copies of the [Photograph] as used by [Infringing Party] on its website are attached hereto as Exhibit B. The webpages where the [Photograph] were used are, respectively:
I actively engage in the licensing and use of my [photographs] for commercial use, take the enforcement of my copyrights seriously, and will use all legal means available to protect my rights. In fact, my company’s website has numerous copyright notices—including on the page where the [Photograph] was originally published [and on a legible watermark on the Photograph itself. This information is also in the image’s metadata].
I have not authorized [Infringing Party]’s uses of the [Photograph]. Consequently, [Infringing Party]’s uses of the [Photograph] constitutes copyright infringement and is in violation with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.,
Summary of My Claims and Demands
I hereby demand that [Infringing Party] (1) cease and desist from any further use of the [Photograph], and (2) provide an accounting of all of [Infringing Party]’s uses of the [Photograph] and any other [photographic image] to which I hold the copyright.
Offer of Settlement
Copyright infringement is a strict liability offense, and [Infringing Party] is responsible for any infringing act regardless of intent. Although [Infringing Party] may stop using the [Photograph], [Infringing Party] remains liable for past infringement.
I am willing to provide [Infringing Party] an opportunity to settle these claims for $[XX,XXX.00], to be sent within ten (10) days of receipt of this letter. This amount represents an offer of settlement but does not reflect the damages I may seek in a court proceeding, including attorneys’ fees pursuant to 17 USC §§ 505 and 1203. Instead, this settlement offer reflects what I will accept if no further actions against [Infringing Party] are necessary. If [Infringing Party] does not accept this offer, then I reserve the right to seek the maximum available damages under the law, which far exceed this amount.
Notice to Preserve Documents and Data
Other than [Infringing Party]’s obligation to stop any further use of the [Photograph], [Infringing Party] now has a duty to preserve all evidence that may be relevant to the dispute discussed above and that may be the subject of pending litigation. This duty of preservation extends to, but is not limited to, data files, e-mails, calendars, telephone logs, access lists, and logs that are located on [Infringing Party]’s computer networks, e-mail servers, individual computer workstations, and external drives, or are located on any of those devices within [Infringing Party]’s control but not owned by [Infringing Party], such as [Infringing Party]’s web hosting service. Specifically, but not exclusively, [Infringing Party] is on notice that it must preserve all evidence of all of its uses of the [Photograph], a duty that extends to [Infringing Party]’s employees and agents. I request that [Infringing Party] notify its employees and agents of this retention request immediately.
Sanctions for violating any of the foregoing duties can be severe, and include substantial monetary sanctions, adverse inferences in evidentiary rulings, and the entry of judgments by default. I am hopeful that we can resolve this dispute short of litigation, but the above-referenced duties must be satisfied in order to do so.
Be advised that if you are unwilling to resolve this matter as noted above, I may initiate formal litigation at any time without further notice to you. This letter is without prejudice to my rights and claims, which are expressly reserved.
I appreciate your timely response.