ArtsLaw Information Sheet
This information sheet explains to visual artists and photographers how to prepare a letter of demand to send to a person or organisation in the media (e.g. a newspaper) who you believe is infringing your copyright and/or moral rights, whether in print or online. The first step is to understand your copyright and moral rights and make a careful assessment as to whether they are being infringed.
INSTRUCTIONS AND NOTES
Set out above is a sample letter of demand. You will see where you need to insert your relevant information; however you may also need to amend the letter to suit your needs.
The following are some changes you may need to make to suit your particular case.
- The sixth paragraph which lists your demands may need to be changed depending on the specific circumstances of the infringing conduct and whether the infringement concerns breaches of your copyright, moral rights or both.
- Try and make your demands as clear as possible so that the reader understands what you want and there is no confusion.
Sample letter of demand for visual arts and photography print/online copyright and/or moral rights infringement
Dear Sir/Madam [or name of the person if known]
I am the owner of copyright in [AND/OR the creator of] [insert name or description of artwork or photograph] (the Work).
[Delete this paragraph is you are NOT the copyright owner] As copyright owner, I have a number of exclusive rights under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). These exclusive rights include the right to reproduce the Work, and to publish and communicate the Work to the public (including by way of sale, broadcast or putting the Work online). It is an infringement of copyright to do any of the acts comprised in the copyright in relation to the whole or a substantial part of the Work, or to authorise such an act, without my permission or licence.
[Delete this paragraph if your moral rights have NOT been infringed e.g. you were attributed for your work, but they did not seek your permission as copyright owner to reproduce your work in print or online] As creator of the Work, I retain moral rights under Australian law, being:
a) the right to be attributed as creator of the Work;
b) the right against false attribution; and
c) the right of integrity, to prevent derogatory treatment of my Work.
It is an infringement of my moral rights if I am not attributed as the creator of the Work, someone else is attributed as the creator of my Work, or my Work is treated in a derogatory manner without my permission.
It has come to my attention that you have [insert way in which they have breached your copyright and/or moral rights. If applicable also insert dates. For example: "photographed my artwork/reproduced my photograph and published it without permission AND/OR failed to attribute me as the creator of the artwork/photograph in your online publication dated 17 January 2013"]. [Attach an example if possible showing the breach - for example, a copy of an article or advertisement which shows the Work you have not given permission to reproduce AND/OR does not attribute you as the creator.]
The conduct described above constitutes infringement of my copyright AND/OR my moral right ['to be attributed', AND/OR 'against false attribution', AND/OR 'of integrity'].
To rectify this infringement of my rights, I require that you undertake to:
1. immediately stop infringing my copyright AND/OR moral rights;
2. [insert any further demands as to how you want the person/organisation to rectify the problem which might include:
if you are the copyright owner:
o provision for an amount of money for the use of your work to date;
o entering into a license with the infringer for future use of your work;
o delivery of all copies of your work to you including any infringing copies(if applicable); and/or
o if the infringer is also selling reproductions of your work you will also want to demand that they cease to do so and that the reproductions be destroyed.
If you hold moral rights:
o a public apology be made for the infringement;
o a printed correction acknowledging the failure to attribute you and stating that you are the creator of the work;
o recall of a publication that is derogatory to your work and reputation;
o damages for loss resulting from the infringement; and/or
o a demand that any false attribution of authorship, or derogatory treatment, of the work be removed or reversed. ]
You can confirm your acceptance of these undertakings by signing and dating a copy of this letter and returning it to me within 21 days.
You are now on notice as to my copyright [AND/OR moral rights] in respect of the Work. If I do not receive an adequate response within 21 days of this letter, I will take such action as I may be advised in order to protect my rights including, without limitation, legal action for injunctive relief or to recover damages without further notice to you.
I otherwise reserve all my rights.
(signature of authorised person)
(name of authorised person)
(company (if applicable))