What is a letter of demand for breach of copyright and/or moral rights?
Once you have identified a breach of your copyright and/or moral rights, a letter of demand can be sent to the person or organisation responsible in order to:
- make the recipient aware that you hold the copyright and/or the moral rights in the work in question;
- outline your exclusive rights as the copyright owner and/or your legal moral rights as the creator of the work;
- explain how the recipient has infringed your copyright and/or moral rights and the legal consequences;
- point out what they need to do to remedy the situation and specify a reasonable time limit within which that must happen;
- inform them that if an adequate response is not received within a certain time that you may exercise your right to commence legal proceedings against them.
The letter of demand can become an important legal document if the problem is not resolved. It can be used as evidence in any court proceedings to prove that you informed the recipient of your rights and gave them an opportunity to rectify the breach.
Things to know when sending a letter of demand
When sending a letter of demand you should be careful:
- not to make threats about infringement which cannot be substantiated. You need to be able to prove that you are the creator of the work and show how the recipient has breached your copyright and/or moral rights;
- not to send a letter which is designed to look like a court document;
- to identify your work clearly and the way in which you allege your copyright and/or moral rights have been infringed (e.g. by reference to a publication, title, website etc.)
It is advisable to send a letter of demand by registered post or fax so that later you can demonstrate that it was received. Don't forget to retain a copy for your records.
After you received a reply to the Letter of Demand
If you receive a reply:
If the recipient signs and returns a copy of the letter, he or she is bound by contract to comply with the undertakings. You should follow up to make sure they have done so. Alternatively, the reply may agree only to some of your demands or may offer something different. If this is acceptable to you, you should draw write back confirming your agreement so that the varied offer becomes a binding contract. It may be necessary to draw up an agreement that outlines what the parties have agreed to do and that they will carry these obligations out. This should also be signed by both sides.
If you do not receive a reply or receive a reply rejecting your allegations:
It is advisable that you seek legal advice from a solicitor who may send another formal letter of demand. As a last legal resort, you may commence court proceedings.
The following Samples Letters of Demand have been included from the ArtsLaw Information Sheet and they are for the sole purpose of legal reference only, please contact the solicitor to draft a formal letter of demand or proceed with relevant court proceedings in cases of serious breach.
1. Moral rights infringement - Letter of Demand
2. Copyright Infringement - Letter of Demand
3. Copyright and Moral Right Infringement by Media - Letter of Demand (Visual Arts & Photos)
You should modify these Sample Letters of Demand to suit individual needs, please contact me for a PDF version of the above Sample Letters of Demand with Instructions.