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Intellectual Property stolen by partners! Can i stop hosting this website by a demanding letter ?

Glendale, CA |

Hi Everyone,

My ex-partners offered me %20 of the company shares when we started to build up a web start-up. There was a contract but we never signed because of 2 reasons below:

1_) We knew each other long time ( i used to work for them as an independent contractor )
2_) Website structure and payment system changed twice so revenue calculation changed as well.

Long story short; I tried to get my compensation from these people and we couldn't agree on the payment. and suddenly they took whole website from the server we had used to another server in NYC. Website is live and all those design, coding etc is mine! I have the source files.

I applied for US COPYRIGHT 45 days ago and its pending.

How can i stop them using my intellectual properties ?

By the way website makes about 10k /mont

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


Do you really want to shut down the website? That could be a fatal blow to a growing business (if there are no revenues, then there is nothing for you to recover). What you want is a credible threat based on your legal rights. In business, the certainty of a negotiated settlement is often preferable to the expense and uncertainty of litigation. You need to consult with an attorney to determine if you have a credible case, and whether a take-down notice, litigation (e.g., a preliminary injunction), or something else is the best legal avenue for you to pursue.

This answer is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all of the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.



Thank you Mr Juo. Do you think this new hosting company should shut down the website if i demand it ?

James Juo

James Juo


It depends on the specific facts of your "long story" including what you can establish as the work for which you own the copyright. You need to retain an attorney to evaluate the specific facts.


You will need to assemble all your documents and organize your emails and consult a business /IP litigator. Demand letters do not have the impact they used to years ago, but you can try.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


You may have a number of claims against your partners, although, from the facts that you presented, this is probably a more complicated matter than you might expect. First, if you applied for the copyright, most courts, including the 9th circuit (where California is located) allow you to file suit for copyright infringement now-you do not need to wait for the copyright to be issued. However, it is not clear that you actually own the copyright; from the facts you gave here, it may belong to the partnership you have with the others (no documents are required to establish a partnership, and from the facts given above, you have one). There are other, and probably better, claims that you can bring. However, you are in California, and you really need to seek advice from a sharp California litigator.

Good luck!

This answer is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice. If you ignore this warning and convey confidential information in a private message or comment, there is no duty to keep that information confidential or forego representation adverse to your interests. Seek the advice of a licensed attorney in the appropriate jurisdiction before taking any action that may affect your rights. If you believe you have a claim against someone, consult an attorney immediately, otherwise there is a risk that the time allotted to bring your claim may expire.


I agree that demand letters typically are not worth the weight of the paper they are written on. In this situation, you will likely have to file a complaint and seek an injunction. You may also have grounds for a UDRP action which occurs through ICAAN and is a much faster way to address rogue websites. You will certainly have to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer familiar with intellectual property issues and litigation strategies.

This is not a legal opinion, and should not be relied upon as such.

Michael Charles Doland

Michael Charles Doland


Respectfully, if you "agree" generally with other attorneys and press "I agree" you will receive 2 points and the other attorney 5. With 30,000 points from Avvo level 19 to level 20, you understand the mutual, continuing benefit.

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