Cease and Desist: Copyright Infringement

Cease and desist orders are an effective method of recourse when you discover that another individual or business has infringed on your intellectual property rights. Here, the specialists at Atlantic Data Forensics discuss cease and desist letters and offer guidance for their use.

Business owners and individuals alike allocate extensive resources to protecting their intellectual property. Securing copyrights and trademarks are vital legal measures to ensure that this property is safe from theft and misuse. But what happens when these measures are ignored, and a business’s intellectual property is infringed upon, through illegal use, replication or distribution? The data forensics specialists at Atlantic Data Forensics discuss recourse through cease and desist orders below. 

What are Cease and Desist Orders?

Cease and desist orders, often in the form of a letter delivered to the infringing party, are legal directives demanding that the illegal misuse or distribution of intellectual property is stopped immediately and does not occur at any time in the future.

What is Included in a Cease and Desist Order?

Typically, cease and desist orders indicate that, should the misuse of one’s copyrighted property continue, the party issuing the order will sue. The order may also specify payment owed to the issuing party to cover any damages incurred from the illegal use of the property. The latter measure is usually employed to encourage immediate action and to avoid a lawsuit, which can be costly and time consuming. 

Important Guidelines for Issuing Cease and Desist Orders

When you work with a legal professional to combat alleged copyright infringement, the professional will first inquire as to details of your intellectual property rights. It is important to consider the following information when weighing your legal options:

  1. You must have registered the copyright for your intellectual property with the U.S Copyright Office. 
  2. You must be recognized as the legal owner of the work. In some cases, ownership can be multi-layered if many parties contributed to the creation of the work.

In reference to item two on the list above, it is vital that when working with vendors to develop intellectual property—whether it is a photographer, developer, designer, etc.—all parties sign a contract that transfers complete ownership of the work upon completion. It is not uncommon that individuals and businesses work with vendors to develop content or products without first signing a contract to secure full legal rights of ownership. In some cases, this may limit the party’s ability to take legal action against infringement. 

Your intellectual property is a foundational component of your brand, business operations and success. Protect your property first by obtaining a copyright. If you find that another is infringing on your copyrighted work, understand that there are effective legal measures that you can employ. For more information on how you to file a cease and desist order, contact Atlantic Data Forensics today.