Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cease-and-desist letters can be copyrighted

This is bogus. [Link]
It's long been believed that cease-and-desist letters that have no new creative expression and are merely boilerplates are likely not covered by copyright. On top of that, preventing someone from copying a cease-and-desist letter or posting it on their own website seems like a pretty severe First Amendment violation. The group Public Citizen hit back against this law firm's claims, but surprisingly, a judge has now agreed that you can copyright cease-and-desist letters (thanks to Eric Goldman for emailing over the link). The news was announced in a press release by the lawyer in question, who claims this means he can now sue anytime someone posts one of his cease-and-desist letters.
Ok, so it can be copyrighted, but that doesn't mean the content is completely unavailable. You could still perform fair use actions with the material.

[UPDATE] From Sean:
It's not quite cut-n-dry as that. It's just a bunch of lawyers playing the system to fish for information.

1 comment:

Sean said...

It's not quite cut-n-dry as that. It's just a bunch of lawyers playing the system to fish for information.

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