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THE LAW: THE WHYS AND WHEREFORES OF SETTLEMENT DEMAND LETTERS

@ Heather-Lynn Aquino (heatherlynnaquino.com)

JOEL L. HECKER, ESQ.

and unless there was a valid license or some other reason why the use is valid, that such use would be an infringing use. Stating your case as such shifts the burden to the user to prove that the use is authorized or otherwise valid.

YOU MAY HAVE RECEIVED a “demand letter” claiming that you have violated someone’s right or owed someone money. You may also have sent or have had your attorney send such a letter. Although demand letters are sometimes abused and may be a scam, they can also be a legitimate method of addressing actual claims, but what are your options as the recipient or as the sender?

The settlement portion of the demand letter may also state what your settlement requirements would be, such as a cease and desist of all use, an offer to retroactively license for the current and any proposed future use, a monetary amount, or any combination of the above. The demand letter is intended to open up a dialogue and achieve a prompt resolution, but the underlying threat behind the letter is that, absent a prompt settlement, you would seek resolution in the courts.

Sending a Settlement Demand Letter for: • Rights Violation – In the photography industry, a demand letter is most appropriate when the recipient is using copyrighted material beyond the scope or duration of a license previously granted without your consent, or when there is outright theft of copyright. In either situation, an attorney representing you would send a letter to the infringing parties stating that the copyright owner or licensee has no record of authorizing the use, American Society of Picture Professionals

• Non-Copyright Monetary Claims – A settlement demand letter may also be sent in situations where only money is due under a contract or otherwise. It should state the relationship between the 46

Issue 4, 2012: ASPP's The Picture Professional Magazine  

The American Society of Picture Professionals is pleased to present the digital version of our quarterly publication, sponsored by Corbis Im...

Issue 4, 2012: ASPP's The Picture Professional Magazine  

The American Society of Picture Professionals is pleased to present the digital version of our quarterly publication, sponsored by Corbis Im...