How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter and Stop Copyright Infringement

When you own a copyright — whether it be for an article, a song, a website design, or anything else you’ve created that’s eligible for copyright protection — you have certain exclusive rights to your work. This includes the exclusive right to distribute copies of your work or display it in public.

But what if someone is infringing on those rights, perhaps by hosting your song online for free download without your permission or selling copies of your novel?

As the copyright owner, you have the right to sue someone committing copyright infringement — but not everyone wants to react with the full force of the law. It’s possible that you’re not out to collect damages or lost profits: you just want the infringement to stop.

How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter

Your cease and desist letter should contain the following elements:

  1. The date
  2. Your name and address
  3. The name and address of the person committing copyright infringement
  4. Your official copyright registration number
  5. The official title of your work as written on your copyright registration
  6. Your date of copyright registration
  7. A statement to the effect that you are entitled to ask the court to award you damages under US Copyright Law
  8. A statement that you wish the infringement to stop immediately, and that if the copyright infringement does not cease, you will pursue the remedies granted to you by US Copyright Law

It’s usually a good idea to send a copy of the cease and desist letter to the copyright infringing party, as well as his or her lawyer. Of course, you will also retain a copy yourself.