Preventing Publicity of Cease and Desist Letters

7 Jan ’05

A new twist in the US over IP infringement cease and desist letters – in at least one case, lawyers representing the aggrieved party have asserted that under copyright law the letter cannot be distributed in any manner.

It is difficult to understand how, at least from a policy perspective, in the absence of a contractual, equitable or other obligation of confidentiality, one could or should be prevented from distributing a communication like this, whether in its entirety or in part.  And in any event, I expect that if this were to happen in Canada, publication for news or research or critical commentary would fall well within the fair dealing doctrine of our copyright law.

But really, yet another opportunity for the world to see lawyers as being, well, just entirely
unreasonable, actually, now that you mention it.  And how many stories do we have to read about
‘net-ignorant lawyers ensuring virtually instantaneous global
distribution by making these kinds of demands?

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