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If I receive a cease and desist letter through email does it need to be notorized by a lawyer?

Canada, KY |

I'm about to face an ugly situation with a woman who is continuously claiming copyright infringements by other artists on her work. She's trying to claim I've now done this, which I haven't. So I have a feeling there will be a cease and desist letter on the way. My question is, does it have to be sent by a lawyer or notorized by a lawyer to be valid? And I have reason to believe that she may have a friend of hers impersonating a lawyer. In order to follow through with it I would want to make sure it was coming from a real law office and a real legal representative. What should I do in this case? I'm considering going to the police to at least document her nonsense. I've never had to deal with this before.
Also, I should mention, she lives in Michigan, U.S.A. and I live in Ontario Canada.

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

A cease and desist letter does not have to come from a lawyer, and it does not need to be notarized. The woman, herself, could send a cease and desist letter. if course, if it comes from a lawyer, it may carry more weight. If you receive a cease and desist letter from a lawyer or law firm, you can conduct simple on-line research to determine whether the lawyer and the firm are legitimate. For example, you can check to seek the lawyer or lawyer are registered on this web-site or linked-in. A simple google search should sufficient to provide you with meaningful information about the lawyer or law firm. Many, but not all, reputable lawyers and law firms are listed in Martindale Hubbell.

But regardless of whether you receive the cease and desist letter from this woman or a lawyer, you should retain counsel in Ontario to represent you. You need to obtain objective advice from counsel concerning the claim that you engaged in copyright infringement. Your statement that you did not infringe is not what matters---what matters is whether there is a risk that a court could find you to have infringed. If there is no basis for the cease and desist letter, your counsel can respond appropriately. If there is a basis for the cease and desist letter, or if there is a risk that a court could find that you have infringed, then your lawyer can try to resolve and settle this dispute. The amount you invest in legal counsel will probably save you a much greater amount in the long run.

Asker

Posted

One of my concerns is that she may very well list a legitimate law firm or lawyer but may not actually be one of their clients. I think a lot of what she does is to scare people into doing what she wants. Is it acceptable to contact the law firm mentioned and check in to see if she's a client of theirs? This, of course, is in anticipation of a cease and desist letter that hasn't even happened yet. I know other artists she's done this to and I'm just trying to get my bearings in the event that I should need to seek legal representation. Thank you so much for your help!

Maurice N Ross

Maurice N Ross

Posted

You should not contact the law firm on your own. That would be a big mistake. You should retain counsel to contact the law firm and otherwise handle this for you.

Molly Cristin Hansen

Molly Cristin Hansen

Posted

I concur with Attorney Ross's comment. You should not try to handle this on your own, and should consult with local counsel in Ontario to help you ASAP.

Asker

Posted

Thank you both. The cease and desist letter may not come at all - I had mentioned earlier, I think a lot of what she does is to try and scare people into doing what she wants when she knows she doesn't have actual grounds to go through with any of it. I did mention to her that after her last inappropriate email to me that any further contact or harassment from her would result in me filing a police report. I don't know what else I could do outside of that and attaining my own legal representation. You both have been tremendously helpful, thank you.

Posted

You've gotten some good input from Mr. Ross and Ms. Hansen. It probably doesn't need to be said again at this point, but I'll reiterate that you should speak with a copyright lawyer in Ontario about the situation immediately and without communicating further with the woman. It may all be nonsense as you believe, but her claim could create real legal problems for you, and having a lawyer help you from the beginning will likely make everything both less problematic and less expensive. Good luck.

The information provided here is general in nature, is not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship with Will Montague or Montague Law PLLC.

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