Cease & Desist

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Synonyms: C&D notice, C&D letter, cease & desist, take-down notice
See also: DMCA
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A Cease and Desist (C&D) is a letter demanding that someone stop doing something, or face legal consequences. For fans, this most often means a letter sent by a legal representative of a corporation, demanding that the fan shut down a fan website, remove fanfiction, remove fanvids, remove images, etc., that the corporation believes infringes on its rights.

Since most fans don't have the financial means to risk a court case -- and may well agree that their work was infringing, even if not maliciously meant -- C&Ds are usually obeyed. Fan sites/fanworks come down, either permanently or to be moved quietly to a new location, possibly under a different name.

More recently, U.S. corporations have also begun turning to DMCA notices sent to U.S.-based ISPs and webhosting companies, who are obligated by law to comply and remove or block the "infringing" content without investigating any further -- the default assumption is that any DMCA claim is legitimate. It's then up to the fan to contest the claim (assuming they even find out who submitted it), which again, most fans don't have the resources to do.

Notable C&Ds sent to fans

  • Mercedes Lackey previously allowed fans to write fan fiction in her Valdemar universe only if they signed a release form and only if the fan fiction was not posted online [3]. More recently, she has announced that fanfic in her original worlds is permissible under a Creative Commons license.[4]
  • Flightpath #7 (UFO) had to remove a story from that issue after receiving a cease and desist from lawyers in 2000 [5]
  • In October 2000, Fandom, Inc. sent a C&D to Carol Burrell claiming that her domain, fandom.tv, infringed on their (non-existent) trademark of the term "fandom", and demanding that she transfer the domain to them and never use the word "fandom" in a domain name again. Burrell chose not to comply. (See Fandom, Inc. for details.)
  • Lionheart Press in 2005 by Warner Brothers, forcing the fanzine publisher to stop selling fanzines[6]
  • In 2007, Funimation sent C&D letters to two fansub groups working on Gonzo's RomeoxJuliet. Both groups complied.[11] This was the first publicized C&D sent to a North American fansub group while an anime series was still airing in Japan.[12]

Other examples may be in the fanlore articles that link to this page

Fans Policing Fans

A example of a fan policing their own is at this 2005 discussion: "I just thought that I would let you guys know as well as our dear creator that her characters are being used." I Found Melanie Rawn Fan Fics On The Net, Archived version

Resources

There are organizations to help fight inappropriate C&Ds.

References

  1. Fan Works Inc. Fan Fiction Policies >> Yarbro, Chelsea Quinn (accessed 14 Mar 2010)
  2. Fan Works Inc. Fan Fiction Policies >> Bradley, Marion Zimmer (accessed 14 Mar 2010)
  3. "Queen's Own Fan Fiction Guidelines (accessed 14 Mar 2010)
  4. Worlds of Mercedes Lackey - News (bottom of page) Accessed March 14, 2010.
  5. "Fandom exists on the tacitly-approved use of professional copyrights: how can it be anything else?? It went through the courts 10 or 15 years ago, and copyright holders essentially agreed to turn a blind eye so long as fandom was a non-profit enterprise. So imagine our surprise when we were contacted out of the blue by a firm of lawyers with instruction to "modify our content." Mike, as editor of Entropy Express, was contacted by the New York attorneys representing the widow of the late Don Pendleton, creator of the bestselling "Mack Bolan" series of adventure novels. FLIGHTPATH #7 featured a story by Sara Lansing (The Siam Sanction), which crossed Gerry Anderson's UFO with Mack Bolan. Probably a web search had brought to the attention of the attorneys the flyer for FLIGHTPATH #7, and they detected what they deemed the unauthorized use of the Bolan copyright! They were entirely within their rights, in terms of their brief to protect Mrs. Pendleton's livelihood, to police the use of the copyright, and while they were by no means unfriendly, they were quite resolute that the story must be withdrawn immediately. As editor of Entropy Express, Mike was most happy to accommodate them, and wrote instantly with an explanation of the position of the fannish editor, with regard to the legal deliberations many years ago, and stressed that no violation of copyright was intended, and most certainly no profit accrued. It was also explained that, for the most part, today in the TV and movie community, fandom is viewed not as violation of copyright but as free promotion and popularization of a patented product. The attorneys were happy with the immediate withdrawal of the story and the matter was left at that. Of course, this left Mike as editor with the task of finding a replacement story to be built into future copies of FLIGHTPATH #7, and which may be issued in chapbook form to anyone who missed it previously. It's a great tragedy that Sara's story can no longer be seen. We felt it was one of the most ambitious and imaginitive [sic] stories ever to appear in FLIGHTPATH. Meanwhile, Sara has voiced the possibility that Bolan may easily be replaced within the narrative, with minimal re-writing, with John Rambo instead! It remains the crossover piece of the issue, and sidesteps the problem." -- September 2000 Editorial
  6. Incognito a Man from UNCLe slash ezine > links (accessed 14 Mar 2010)
  7. Copy of original c&d letter to netroenterprises.com (accessed 14 Mar 2010)
  8. carissa_lynn received a C&D letter for the use of MPAA ratings on Time Turner.net. Copy of the original c&d letter at her LiveJournal, posted 20 March 2005 (accessed 14 Mar 2010). Also posted at at Lumen (formerly Chilling Effects).
  9. "The MPAA goes after fandom": Fanthropology Livejournal Community (accessed 14 Mar 2010)
  10. Legal discussion of the MPAA's actions: Fandom Lawyers Livejournal Community (accessed 14 Mar 2010)
  11. Gonzo Halts Romeo×Juliet Fansub with FUNimation's Help posted Sept. 28, 2007. Accessed Nov. 25, 2012.
  12. Romeo x Juliet "To my knowledge this is the first occurence of Japanese company actually sending a C&D during an ongoing anime" posted Sept. 27, 2007. Accessed Nov. 25, 2012.