What is Defamation of Character?
Defamation refers to an area of law that allows a person or business to seek compensation for injury, loss, or suffering that occurred due to untrue statements that were made about them. Libel and slander fall under the defamation umbrella, specifically referring to defamation of character.
Libel is when a false statement is written about a person or business with the purpose of causing that person or business loss, injury, suffering, or repuation damage.
For instance, a restaurant owner publishes an article that includes a false statement claiming that his or her competitor’s restaurant is rat-infested. If the article was untrue, then it could be considered libel.
Slander is when a false statement is verbally made about a person or business.
For example, let’s say that a doctor told his or her patients that a colleague’s credentials were fake. This statement could cause the other doctor to lose patients, so it could be considered slander if it were untrue.
Although anyone can use a Cease and Desist Letter for a variety of situations, these letters are typically used by professionals, businesses, or individuals who need to safeguard their work and reputation in order to conduct business or make a living.
Graphic designers, photographers, and writers are just a few examples of professionals who may face situations where they could use a Cease and Desist Letter.
In general, a Cease and Desist Letter should include:
- The sender and receiver’s name and contact information
- The date the letter was written
- A clear, concise description of the infringing or harassing behavior or action
- The amount of time the offending party has to remedy their actions (removing/deleting content, stop the harassing behavior, etc.) before the sender initiates legal action
The goal of your letter is to get the offending party to stop the activity against you, so it’s recommended to stick to the relevant details only and to leave out any information that is not absolutely necessary, such as foul language or petty commentary.
Since a Cease and Desist Letter is notice that you will pursue legal action against the offending party should they choose to not comply with your request, you ordinarily do not need an attorney to send the letter.
If the situation escalates to the point where you do need to take legal action, then an attorney would have to help you serve a cease and desist order.
A cease and desist order is a legal action issued by a court or government agency on the offending party, prohibiting the offending activity.