I Got a Letter Saying I Infringing Someone’s Copyright. Now What?

A large amount of people receive cease and desist letters from copyright owners. Not all of them may realize they have committed infringement. In fact, some of them never actually committed infringement at all. An attorney can give you advice tailored to your specific situation, but there are a few general tips that you should follow regardless.

As you can imagine, your first step after receiving a cease and desist letter should be to consult an attorney. If you are aware you are infringing, but feel that you are justified in doing so, your attorney can help you craft a defense or at the very least draft a letter in response. If you know your activity is illegal and without justification, you should simply stop doing it.

If you received a letter and you are not sure why, you should do some investigating on your own. Sometimes you can be wrongly accused of someone else’s infringement. For example, if you leave your home wireless network unencrypted, anyone can use your network to illegally download music files. Since the activity occurred on your network, you will get the cease and desist letter with a request for damages. After you gather your facts, it is important to be completely honest with your attorney so he or she can determine the right steps to take for you.

No matter what your situation is, your attorney will probably recommend you respond to the letter you received. Getting sued is a costly experience even when you win so interacting with your accuser before a lawsuit comes can save you a lot of money.

It is also important to follow your attorney’s advice afterwards. For example, if your attorney instructs you to keep a disputed picture or video off of your website it’s for a good reason; the letter you received put you on notice and continuing your infringing activity can entitle your accuser to maximum statutory damages in court.

There is no short and easy answer for responding to a letter accusing you of copyright infringement. If you have received a letter or are otherwise being accused of copyright infringement you can contact Stone Law at 732-444-6303 or leave us a message on our website.