Don’t Ignore A Doniger / Burroughs Copyright Demand Letter

If you’re reading this, then it is likely that you have received a demand to cease and desist violations of copyright laws with a threat that action will be taken pursuant to 17 USC 501 based on allegations of copyright infringement. The letter, likely signed by Stephen M. Doniger, Esq. begins by identifying the Doniger / Burroughs Law Firm client, the subject matter of the issue, and refers to your allegedly offending publication.

If you have received such a letter, then feel free to contact us and include the letter as an attachment. We keep all communications confidential, pride ourselves on quick and active responses, and do not charge for initial consultations.

Doniger / Burroughs is an experienced plaintiff copyright law firm, which has litigated matters at the highest levels and also settles many issues prior to initiating litigation against alleged bad actors. Many of its clients are photographers, such as Frank Rothe, who feel as though they deserve compensation based on the unconsented use of their content. When a law firm like Doniger / Burroughs gets involved, the photographer is likely splitting whatever recovery he/she is able to obtain with the law firm that was retained.

Doniger and others at his firm should fully describe the Subject Photograph or photographs at issue and attach same as an exhibit to the letter. Typically, they also demand that you cease and desist from any further use of the content and will provide their proof of the unconsented use to date. Doniger / Burroughs commonly cites copyright statutes and may even refer to case law precedent as a basis for its claims. It should make reference to any prior efforts that it or its client made to license the content to you before the delivery of the demand letter.

Ultimately, what Doniger / Burroughs and its client wants is money. Usually, a monetary demand will be included in the letter which, if it was clearly an innocent infringement, will fall within the range of $750 to $30,000 per infringement. If Doniger / Burroughs believes that wilful infringement has occurred, then it may demand upwards of $150,000 per infringement under the Copyright Act. Don’t panic at this point. You may have affirmative defenses such as fair use or de minimis use, and other ways to negotiate down the demand. That is where we come in to help, so be sure to reach out to us as soon as possible after receipt of the letter.