Whether your company makes promotional videos, publishes original content or produces designs and illustrations, when you publish your original works, you have copyright protection for your intellectual property. Those who hire you may also pursue copyrights or trademarks, depending on the agreement you have regarding the ownership of those creations.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people, especially on the internet, who are willing to take copyrighted creative works and attempt to use them for their own profit. Provided that you have already established a copyright or trademark protection for the work in question, what is typically the first step you take to stop someone from profiting off of your hard work and ideas?
Sending a cease-and-desist letter is often the first step
Although many people knowingly and repeatedly violate intellectual property and copyright laws as a way to make quick cash without doing creative work, other people may not realize that what they have done violates your rights. A violation could even be the result of a new employee trying to pass off their plagiarism of your intellectual property as their own work.
In order to take action against someone, you must first notify them of the violation. Sending a cease-and-desist letter is a common first step toward any party hoping to enforce their intellectual property rights after a violation of their copyright occurs.
Whether someone lifted a photograph from your portfolio or republished an article that your business paid for, advising them of the violation and requesting compensation and an immediate end to the copyright violation is usually the first step. After that, litigation may become the next necessary step in the process.