Copyright Cease and Desist Letter Template

A copyright infringement cease and desist notice is sent to the individual or business organization that has used a copyrighted work or website without authorization. The work owner uses the letter to request the other party to stop the infringing activity and warn about possible legal action.

Before figuring out when you should use this cease and desist letter template, let’s first understand what copyrights protect. According to the United States Copyright Act 1976 (S. 102), copyright law protects original works, such as literary, pictorial, graphic, dramatic, and musical works, choreography, architecture, and sculpture fixed in any tangible form.

If you’ve noticed an intellectual property violation, you have the right to send a cease and desist letter to the infringer. Our template will help you to create the document with no problem. You may add all the relevant information and download the form after. You can also take advantage of our detailed guidelines and free letter sample. To create your letter as convincingly as possible, you are recommended to consult your attorney.

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Cease and desist letters can be beneficial no matter the circumstances. These documents create possibilities to settle everything without a lawsuit and, therefore, save time and money. If you’ve suffered from copyright infringement but have doubts about writing or not writing the letter, please consider the next information.

  1. The individual or business organization that uses your original work without permission may not be aware of your authorship. When you inform them that the work is copyrighted, they will likely comply with your demand and stop the illegal activity.
  2. If the unauthorized usage is intentional, then a cease and desist copyright infringement letter warns that the offending party must stop the unwelcome behavior. Otherwise, the owner will contact the lawyer and pursue legal action.
  3. If you do not prepare a cease and desist letter immediately, there’s a high probability that the infringing party continues using your copyrighted work. And in the future, it will be harder to prove to the public that you are the work owner.
  4. If you decide to go directly to court, you may spend a lot of time and pay expensive attorney fees. And the law eventually may consider your infringement claim unjustified.

When you see the use of your original work or website without your permission, it’s only natural that, as the owner, you want to protect your rights and sue the offender. However, before taking legal action against the infringing party, consider writing and sending a cease and desist warning following the next steps.

Step 1. Check your copyright protection

You may think that your work is well-protected because you are the owner. But as unfair as it may sound, before claiming the infringement, you must prove your copyrights. If you’ve registered them, you will likely have no problem. Otherwise, it may take some effort to provide the proof. Although copyright registration is not required, it’s highly recommended for creators. Sometimes, original works can be legally protected with a copyright notice. The Copyright Law of the U.S. provides strong legal protection of original works, but you have to make this protection work in your case.

Step 2. Exclude the concept of fair use 

The U.S. Copyright Act (S. 107) provides information about fair use, stating that everyone can use copyrighted works for such purposes as teaching, research, scholarships, news reporting, and commenting. However, it’s important to consider such factors as the portion used in correlation with a copyrighted work as a whole, whether the work is used for nonprofit purposes or having a commercial nature, and what effect such usage has on the original work value. It would help if you analyzed all the circumstances in order to exclude fair use of your work.

Step 3. Gather the proof

As the next step, you must prove that your rights have been infringed. Excluding fair use is only half the story. You will need to search and gather the evidence related to the unauthorized usage, including all the available resources such as screenshots, URL links, video, and audio materials. You can also address the lawyer or IP attorney who will help you define the allegation’s scope and advise you on best practices and resources in such situations.

Step 4. Prepare and send your letter

After collecting all the proofs, you need to create the letter and include all information in the document. First, you should request the infringer to immediately stop the illegal activity and then provide you with a written assurance related to compliance with all your demands. Try to make your request as serious as possible. After preparing the documents, you should deliver them to the offender. It’s important to use certified mail with the return receipt. That’s how you will get the infringer’s signature about receiving your letter.

Step 5. Give some time to reply

You will need to wait for a response after sending the letter. You can provide a deadline in the letter, but the recipient may decide to ignore it since the letter is not a legally binding document. However, it would be best to wait before filing a lawsuit or implementing the other remedies.

Step 6. Provide a resolution

There are two possibilities to regulate everything—legal dispute resolution or settlement without court involvement. The letter is a good way to regulate everything through the agreement between two parties. But if your letter is ignored, you should go to court that will issue a cease and desist order.

If you reach this section, it means you are ready to create your cease and desist document. Our free template is easy to fill in and ensures that your document is well-structured and has the right tone. When working with our cease and desist template, please, follow the next steps.

Step 1. Fill in the header

At the beginning of the letter, you should name the owner of the copyrighted work. Please, include the owner’s name and address. You can provide such details as your email or phone if the offender decides to get in touch with you. After the contact information, you should indicate the date the letter is being sent.

Step 2. Explain the infringing rights 

As the owner, you should explain your copyrights, add your copyrights’ registration description (if registered), and provide reasonable evidence of the infringement. You can consult the attorney to explain your allegations as clearly as possible.

Step 3. Describe the demand

You should describe your requirements and the legal consequences of not complying with them to the other party in your letter. You can warn the recipient about possible legal action to the extent of criminal penalties and significant monetary damage if they do not stop the unwelcome behavior.

Step 4. Provide the deadline 

You may add the time period or specific date until when the offending party must reply to the letter. It will emphasize the seriousness of the document.

Step 5. Sign the letter

As soon as it’s recommended to deliver the letter using certified or registered mail, it should have a hand-written signature. There is also a possibility to send certified mail using such services as Online Certified Mail. Then, you will have to provide an electronic signature.

From: John Doe

15 Fine Av.

Stanford, CA 94305

Date: January 21, 2021

To: Jane Doe

15 Business Av.

Stanford, CA 94305

I am writing to inform you about copyright infringement relating to my work entitled “Name 1”. I have reserved all legal rights in this work, first published on my website on May 13, 2005. You can access the website and see the description.

Your work entitled “Name 2” is practically identical to my Work. As you neither asked for permission to use my work as the basis for your creation nor distribute its copies, I believe you have willfully infringed my legal rights.

Therefore, you are requested to immediately cease the usage and distribution of my work and all its copies, as well as to desist from this or any other infringement in the future.

If the cease and desist request is ignored and I do not receive an affirmative response from you within 5 business days, indicating that you fully comply with all the demands and requirements, I will have to address my lawyer and all the available legal remedies.


John Doe

Published: Apr 7, 2022