Maybe you work in the entertainment industry and have a song that someone else has sampled in a promotional video for their business? Perhaps you create original works of digital art or write creative essays and struggle with people republishing your original works without citation, permission or royalties?
What you create is your intellectual property, as is any original work that a company buys from the original creator. As soon as you publish your original creation, you have copyright protection. If someone else tries to use your original work for personal gain, you can potentially take them to civil court.
Sending a cease-and-desist letter is typically an important part of that process.
A cease-and-desist letter tells someone that they must stop
When someone has violated the law or your rights, notifying them of that fact strengthens your right to take action in court. Sending a formal cease-and-desist letter to an individual or business violating your copyright protections lets them know that you are aware of their actions.
Much of the time, these letters successfully deter someone from continuing to use intellectual property without licensing. If the other party persists, proof that you sent the letter can help strengthen your case against them, especially if they try to claim ignorance or that they had your permission in court.
If you have copyright protections established through the publication of your original work, you may want to formally register your copyright with the United States Copyright Office to strengthen your claim against the person using your original creation. Understanding how to protect your intellectual property will reduce the chances of other people misusing it.