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As a copyright owner, you will want to protect the copyright protected material you have worked hard to create. You can do things to try and safeguard your work, like using the © symbol. However, if you are sharing your work with the public, there is a risk that someone could infringe your copyright. If this happens to you, you can send the infringing party a letter of demand for breach of copyright to try and fix the situation. This article will set out the key points to include in your letter of demand for breach of copyright.

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is an intellectual property tool. The work it protects includes the following categories:

  • literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works; 
  • the typographical layout of published editions; 
  • sound recordings; 
  • films; and 
  • communication works.

You gain copyright protection automatically once you put your work into material form. This means that, unlike other intellectual property protections, there is no registration for copyright. Because of this, the public may not be able to identify copyright protected material, and will subsequently infringe on your rights. One way to combat this is to label your copyright material with the © symbol, to signal to others that your work enjoys copyright protection. Even so, people can overstep your copyright knowingly or unknowingly.

If you have copyright protection over work, you have the right to:

  • exclusively use the copyright protected material;
  • prevent others from using that material; and
  • legal protection.

You can exercise these rights however you wish. You may even permit others to use your work with conditions through licensing agreements. However, regardless of how you choose to share your work with the world, there may be people who infringe on your rights. This is when you may need to send a letter of demand for breach of copyright.

What Is a Letter of Demand?

A letter of demand is a way for you to declare your rights to infringers as the copyright owner. As mentioned above, you are the only one who can decide when others can use your copyright protected material. So, if someone else has overstepped that without your permission, you will need to consider sending them a letter of demand for breach of copyright. You should send a letter of demand as soon as possible once you identify infringement. A letter of demand is usually the first step you take before engaging in legal action, and due to the cost of legal action, you want to avoid it if possible. Hopefully, your letter of demand can resolve the infringement before you have to take further steps. A letter of demand is a chance for you to put your concerns in writing, and it also allows the infringer to fix the issues.

What Should I Include?

The table below explains the key inclusions you should put in your letter of demand.

Assert your rights as the owner

Clarify that you are the owner of the material. Explain that you have the right to determine who else can use the work. You must make sure that you are the correct copyright owner of the work in question. Otherwise, your letter of demand will not be valid. You will want to state your claims correctly and clearly, so that they stand up in court in the future.

Clearly state the infringement

Give concrete examples of the infringement. You may wish to include pictures and specific dates.

Provide an opportunity to resolve the issue

Give instructions on how you would like to resolve the issue. Provide them with a clear timeframe. This is the most important step, as if your demands are unclear, you may not have the issue resolved.

Communicate the next step

Let the other party know that you will be taking legal action if they do not meet your demands in the ascribed time period.

At the end of your letter, you can provide the other party with a space to sign it so that they are bound to comply. You may also wish to leave your contact details so that they can respond or even negotiate with you.

If you are drafting and sending a letter of demand for breach of copyright, you should consider seeking legal advice. This will ensure your letter includes all of the key points.

Key Takeaways

When somebody breaches your copyright, you may wish to send a letter of demand for breach of copyright. This is a way for you to express and exercise your exclusive rights as a copyright owner. Your letter of demand should include some key points that communicate your rights to the infringer and help solve the issue faster. If you need help with drafting a letter of demand, contact LegalVision’s experienced intellectual property lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does copyright protection last?

The duration of your copyright will depend on the kind of work it is protecting. For example, copyright lasts for the creator’s lifetime plus 50 years for literary and artistic works.

What is the © symbol for?

The © symbol signals to others that your work is protected. You do not have to use it to have protection, however.

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