New City, NY asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for New York

Q: Advice on Response to a Cease and Desist Letter

I am an independent contractor providing creative services to my client. In our agreement, I included a section in which my client represents that all of their creative materials I may be using, modifying, repurposing, etc., are the property of my client OR that my client has permission to use them. However, I recently received a Cease and Desist Letter from the PREVIOUS contractor doing the work. She is claiming she owns the IP and my client (or anyone working on the client's behalf) does not have permission to use the materials. What should my response be to the C&D letter given there is an open dispute over who owns the IP? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

1 Lawyer Answer
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: First you should bring to the client's attention that a dispute may exist regarding whether the materials from the former contractor are "works for hire", and ask whether the former contractor's engagement contained a written provision to that effect. Ask for a copy of that agreement for assurance.

In the meantime, respond to the former contractor that you relied on the client's representation that the materials were created as works for hire, and ask for any evidence that they were not.

If the cease and desist demand came directly from the contractor and not from an attorney, perhaps the contractor does not understand the law.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.