Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Making a Decision on How to Publish (2 Viewers)

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Drum roll, please... I have decided to self-publish. 👏

After researching and compiling a list of worthy agents, preparing a suitable query letter, and devising a system to track emails and responses, I had all intentions of attempting the traditional route first. And then I thought about the long wait period, all the rejections, and if I am so lucky to get a deal, what changes would be expected. Looking back at the Facebook post to friends announcing my writing of, "THE END," I re-read the 65 comments, each one expressing eagerness to read the book. I thought about the last few luncheons with friends, recalling the wide-eyed expressions of interest, and the, "When can I read it?" It occurred to me, I've already accomplished what I set out to do. Write a book that people want to read. I resolved my new goal would be to get the book out to those people as soon as possible. The 4-6 months for SP is a lot more appealing than 18-24 and maybe not at all for TP. Hence my decision to self-publish.

That being said, there are still two routes to go. One can go it alone, or work with a publishing service. I am considering working with FriesenPress Inc. They take your book from manuscript to published providing all services such as evaluation, editing, copyright, registration, cover design, interior design, etc. FriesenPress does not retain any rights or take a royalty unless your book is sold on their own site. As a 100% employee-owned company, they are a division of Friesens Corporation which is Canada's largest printer of hardcover books. While offering all printing options including print on demand, they use 50lb paper which is heavier than most, and have prenegotiated a better royalty rate with Amazon. You get to use the FriesenPress imprint, which apparently provides some quality assurance as the book has been vetted by professionals. And - they claim that they have a network of 50 retailers who regularly shop their site.

What are your thoughts about going it alone or using a publishing service?
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Just dig as deeply as you can into Friesen and make sure they're not a polished-up vanity press. 1907 is no longer than lots of vanity presses have been around. They have "Jess Dory" highlighted as a success story. Jess Dory wrote a book six years ago published through Friesen. It has a lower sales rank than my first novel (which I essentially do not market or push in any way), so Friesen has not helped her all that much. Further, she has a blog from six years ago discussing working on Book 2 of her Isle series ... as yet to see the light of day. Did she lose interest in writing, or become disappointed in her experience? It would be helpful to know.

If they give you a price for these services, I'd be interested to know it.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Just dig as deeply as you can into Friesen and make sure they're not a polished-up vanity press. 1907 is no longer than lots of vanity presses have been around. They have "Jess Dory" highlighted as a success story. Jess Dory wrote a book six years ago published through Friesen. It has a lower sales rank than my first novel (which I essentially do not market or push in any way), so Friesen has not helped her all that much. Further, she has a blog from six years ago discussing working on Book 2 of her Isle series ... as yet to see the light of day. Did she lose interest in writing, or become disappointed in her experience? It would be helpful to know.

If they give you a price for these services, I'd be interested to know it.

Great Response! Thanks for knowing what to look for and digging a little deeper. Can you elaborate on the perils of a vanity press? I know the term was coined to mean people publishing for vanity because they couldn't be published otherwise.

Where did you see Jess Dory highlighted and the sales ranking?

Here is a link to the packages:

 
Last edited:

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Great Response! Thanks for knowing what to look for and digging a little deeper. Can you elaborate on the perils of a vanity press? I know the term was coined to mean people publishing for vanity because they couldn't be published otherwise.

Where did you see Jess Dory highlighted and the sales ranking?

Here is a link to the packages:

She's at the bottom of their page, so I just looked over on Amazon. Notice on Friesen it says "Isle series". Well, the series is one book, which I typically do not consider to be a series. I would hope they can point to a better example.

I looked at their packages, and I smell Vanity Press like I'm downwind from a paper mill.

So you've got a 100K word novel? Did you notice their price is only up to 75K words? The editorial evaluation is another 7 cents a word over 75K, so they're going to pop you for another $1750 right there. That's just to tell you if they think you should publish, and considering the price of the package and the other tacked on charges, good luck having them tell you to not pay more. ;-)

Copy Editing at 2 cents word over 75K. There goes another $500. Proofreading at 1.3 cents ... why Proofreading and Copy Editing are two different charges, they'd have to explain to me. I do it in one pass.

Also, bear this in mind. You can find independent editors who will both do evaluations (I had one done of Bone Kien for $75, and learned nothing from it anyway LOL) and copy editing, and will send you samples of their work first. You go into this kind of deal, you're blind ... no idea who the editor will be or if they're any good ... or how much experience they have (a separate issue from how good).

I'm about to link a page of comments about them. One of the authors liked his experience. Says he "sold well". His sales rank is THREE MILLION below Bone Kien, which I don't promote in any way.


I'm sort of turning out to be relieved you posted this! One option is to discuss a cover with SigmaDog, and I'll PM you shortly for other discussion.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: PiP

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
She's at the bottom of their page, so I just looked over on Amazon. Notice on Friesen it says "Isle series". Well, the series is one book, which I typically do not consider to be a series. I would hope they can point to a better example.

I looked at their packages, and I smell Vanity Press like I'm downwind from a paper mill.

So you've got a 100K word novel? Did you notice their price is only up to 75K words? The editorial evaluation is another 7 cents a word over 75K, so they're going to pop you for another $1750 right there. That's just to tell you if they think you should publish, and considering the price of the package and the other tacked on charges, good luck having them tell you to not pay more. ;-)

Copy Editing at 2 cents word over 75K. There goes another $500. Proofreading at 1.3 cents ... why Proofreading and Copy Editing are two different charges, they'd have to explain to me. I do it in one pass.

Also, bear this in mind. You can find independent editors who will both do evaluations (I had one done of Bone Kien for $75, and learned nothing from it anyway LOL) and copy editing, and will send you samples of their work first. You go into this kind of deal, you're blind ... no idea who the editor will be or if they're any good ... or how much experience they have (a separate issue from how good).

I'm about to link a page of comments about them. One of the authors liked his experience. Says he "sold well". His sales rank is THREE MILLION below Bone Kien, which I don't promote in any way.


I'm sort of turning out to be relieved you posted this! One option is to discuss a cover with SigmaDog, and I'll PM you shortly for other discussion.
Ok sounds great, but you still have not explained what the negativity is to a vanity press, and where do you find the sales ranking?
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Ok sounds great, but you still have not explained what the negativity is to a vanity press, and where do you find the sales ranking?
Sorry about that. The negative part of a Vanity Press is people pay them money with expectations which are never realized. Often a Vanity Press will pretend to act like a real publisher, but a real publisher NEVER charges for these kinds of services. They only take on properties they believe they can profit from, and when they do, they take on the overhead. The overhead is getting a contract done, editing, working with the author, proofreading, often an advance, cover art, preparing the product for press, printing, marketing, sales and distribution, and accounting of royalties. The author doesn't pay for any of that. The author writes and collects checks, be they large, or miniscule.

If I'd looked at a couple of Freisen authors and seen positive sales (you just find the book on Amazon and scroll down until you see the sales rank), I might have thought these guys went the extra mile to assist in promotion. Clearly, they do not.

And this may be a point of logic in their claim to be in catalogs. Maybe they are. But if you're a buyer for a store or a chain, which are you going to invest in? A book a Trad publisher had enough confidence in to pick up all that overhead, or a book by someone whose only reason for being there is they paid a vanity press. Slam dunk on that one.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Sorry about that. The negative part of a Vanity Press is people pay them money with expectations which are never realized. Often a Vanity Press will pretend to act like a real publisher, but a real publisher NEVER charges for these kinds of services. They only take on properties they believe they can profit from, and when they do, they take on the overhead. The overhead is getting a contract done, editing, working with the author, proofreading, often an advance, cover art, preparing the product for press, printing, marketing, sales and distribution, and accounting of royalties. The author doesn't pay for any of that. The author writes and collects checks, be they large, or miniscule.

If I'd looked at a couple of Freisen authors and seen positive sales (you just find the book on Amazon and scroll down until you see the sales rank), I might have thought these guys went the extra mile to assist in promotion. Clearly, they do not.

And this may be a point of logic in their claim to be in catalogs. Maybe they are. But if you're a buyer for a store or a chain, which are you going to invest in? A book a Trad publisher had enough confidence in to pick up all that overhead, or a book by someone whose only reason for being there is they paid a vanity press. Slam dunk on that one.
I understand that a real publisher never charges for these kinds of services, but the point is if you choose this route you don't have a book deal, so no one is going to cover those costs for you. Perhaps they do mark them up, but the prices of the basic package aren't outrageous. However, if one wished to do it themselves, they may save a few thousand. In all fairness to FriesenPress, the conversations I have had with the salesperson, have never been misleading, so my expectations would be that they deliver the service they offer, period. If people are getting hyped out by sales pitches, they are only to blame.

I checked Amazon and I can see your ranking (btw, congratulations) under "See all details," but I don't see it for the other author Jim Bennett. Perhaps, as a reviewer, you have greater access?
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
I understand that a real publisher never charges for these kinds of services, but the point is if you choose this route you don't have a book deal, so no one is going to cover those costs for you.
No, no one is, but that doesn't mean you have to pay exorbitant rates and then wind up with the level of dissatisfaction expressed by the customers on that page. You can get the same services, more competently performed, with better control, for a lot less out of pocket, and if you want to do that, I'll be happy to help you find the right places, or put you in contact with other self-published authors who use those services. Those rates are high compared to lower rates I refuse to pay. LOL

Perhaps they do mark them up, but the prices of the basic package aren't outrageous. However, if one wished to do it themselves, they may save a few thousand. In all fairness to FriesenPress, the conversations I have had with the salesperson, have never been misleading, so my expectations would be that they deliver the service they offer, period. If people are getting hyped out by sales pitches, they are only to blame.
Just remember, that package price isn't the price. Your extra words are only the FIRST upsell you'll experience. Read the comment the lady left about her cover. Hundreds more. And poor Jim Bennet's cover looks like crap. I could find a stock picture of an iceberg and drop a scope graphic over it in about 10 minutes, and that's all that cover is. The title and author lettering is embarrassing. No imagination at all.

What disgusted me most were the people who explained that after they paid all that, Friesen's editors INTRODUCED errors that weren't in the original manuscript. Unforgivable.

And did you notice the time frames involved ... even in books that weren't ready yet? More than a year? Still waiting?
I checked Amazon and I can see your ranking (btw, congratulations) under "See all details," but I don't see it for the other author Jim Bennett. Perhaps, as a reviewer, you have greater access?
You have to go to his book and scroll down from there. It was 5 million plus. 5 million plus means he's selling one copy about every two to three years.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
No, no one is, but that doesn't mean you have to pay exorbitant rates and then wind up with the level of dissatisfaction expressed by the customers on that page. You can get the same services, more competently performed, with better control, for a lot less out of pocket, and if you want to do that, I'll be happy to help you find the right places, or put you in contact with other self-published authors who use those services. Those rates are high compared to lower rates I refuse to pay. LOL


Just remember, that package price isn't the price. Your extra words are only the FIRST upsell you'll experience. Read the comment the lady left about her cover. Hundreds more. And poor Jim Bennet's cover looks like crap. I could find a stock picture of an iceberg and drop a scope graphic over it in about 10 minutes, and that's all that cover is. The title and author lettering is embarrassing. No imagination at all.

What disgusted me most were the people who explained that after they paid all that, Friesen's editors INTRODUCED errors that weren't in the original manuscript. Unforgivable.

And did you notice the time frames involved ... even in books that weren't ready yet? More than a year? Still waiting?

You have to go to his book and scroll down from there. It was 5 million plus. 5 million plus means he's selling one copy about every two to three years.

All good information...thanks @vranger. You have given me a lot to think about!

I have been checking rankings now, for all my friends who have published and for other self-published authors I like. What a great resource...thanks for pointing that out!
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Just a follow-up on this issue. I'm not advocating for using a publishing service, just sharing my findings with others, who may be on the same information-gathering path.

I had a follow-up call with the fellow from FriesenPress. I shared the above review link with him. He said that the link had been going around for some time and that he felt it may be driven by his competitors. He directed me to the Google Reviews that were 179 and were primarily positive with a cumulative rating of five stars.

He also said that FreisenPress is NOT a vanity press, as a vanity press keeps the rights to the material. Friesen does not retain any rights, thereby they are considered a service.

He indicated that if you go to any online retailer and put in "FriesenPress" it will bring up any books they have published. I did the search and found several on the Chapters/Indigo site, but none on Barnes and Noble. Curious to know if anyone has experience with getting listed with major online retailers.

I asked him to give me a quotation with all of the extra charges I might incur, including the excess in word count from the basic package. It was more than double.

The other thing he pointed out was the use of the FriesenPress Imprint. One question I still have is, does it help to have a publisher's imprint or Trade Mark? I noticed a bestselling self-published author has what appears to have created her own publishing imprint by registering an LLC as a publisher.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Well, that was a pack of lies he told you.

They can get as many good ratings as they want hiring pay services who do that (or Fivver), and NO ONE is paying various services to trash Freisen Press in a review chain, or loading them up with insider posts by a competitor's employees. That nonsense about "vanity presses keep the rights to the material" was the BIGGEST bald-faced lie of the bunch. A REAL publisher keeps rights to work for a contracted period of time, because if they're going to put out all that overhead, they deserve the right to be the sole supplier of the property. A vanity press has no overhead on a property. The author is paying them to do EVERYTHING, just like you'd be paying Freisen Press to do everything.

Vanity Press, and with ridiculously high rates. Every vanity press is 'services', but I prefer the term leeches (or worse).

Excuse my French, but I hate and detest fucking lying salesmen.
 
Last edited:

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Well, that was a pack of lies he told you.

They can get as many good ratings as they want hiring pay services who do that (or Fivver), and NO ONE is paying various services to trash Freisen Press in a review chain, or loading them up with insider posts by a competitor's employees. That nonsense about "vanity presses keep the rights to the material" was the BIGGEST bald-faced lie of the bunch. A REAL publisher keeps rights to work for a contracted period of time, because if they're going to put out all that overhead, they deserve the right to be the sole supplier of the property. A vanity press has no overhead on a property. The author is paying them to do EVERYTHING, just like you'd be paying Freisen Press to do everything.

Vanity Press, and with ridiculously high rates. Every vanity press is 'services', but I prefer the term leeches (or worse).

Excuse my French, but I hate and detest fucking lying salesmen.
Tell us how you really feel...lol!

Do you know anything about the reason some self-published authors register an LLC as a publisher? Could that be for tax purposes?
 
Last edited:

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Tell us how you really feel...lol!
A few years ago, I had a time-share salesman tell me that we needed his "points based" property group because it was getting almost impossible to arrange exchanges through RCI anymore. I've been doing RCI exchanges for 30+ years with no issue, and we were at his resort ... on an RCI exchange. I told him to give me a minute, pulled out my phone ... I have RCI in contacts ... and called them. I spoke to a Rep and relayed his concerns, and asked her if they were having ANY problems making exchanges or anticipated any. She said she didn't know why anyone would make such statements ... the answer to both was No. She was a customer service rep, this guy was a salesman.

I thanked her, ended the call, looked up at him and said, "The lady I just talked to at RCI says you're a liar". He wasn't happy, but he knew right away how I feel about lying salesmen. That was the end of his sales pitch, by the way.

I genuinely am a nice guy, but if someone acts like an ass, lies to me, or tries to scam me, I change that face without delay.
Do you know anything about the reason some self-published authors register an LLC as a publisher? Could that be for tax purposes?
I think you scoped that out in "one". :) My guess would be to take royalties as dividends rather than income and sidestep FICA. Plus, if you pay all deductible expenses out of the LLC account (if you can LOL)--and this you're going to know far better than me--it keeps the accounting more organized and avoids issues of co-mingling.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
A few years ago, I had a time-share salesman tell me that we needed his "points based" property group because it was getting almost impossible to arrange exchanges through RCI anymore. I've been doing RCI exchanges for 30+ years with no issue, and we were at his resort ... on an RCI exchange. I told him to give me a minute, pulled out my phone ... I have RCI in contacts ... and called them. I spoke to a Rep and relayed his concerns, and asked her if they were having ANY problems making exchanges or anticipated any. She said she didn't know why anyone would make such statements ... the answer to both was No. She was a customer service rep, this guy was a salesman.

I thanked her, ended the call, looked up at him and said, "The lady I just talked to at RCI says you're a liar". He wasn't happy, but he knew right away how I feel about lying salesmen. That was the end of his sales pitch, by the way.

I genuinely am a nice guy, but if someone acts like an ass, lies to me, or tries to scam me, I change that face without delay.
Understandable. That's why it's always good to get a second unbiased opinion.
I think you scoped that out in "one". :) My guess would be to take royalties as dividends rather than income and sidestep FICA. Plus, if you pay all deductible expenses out of the LLC account (if you can LOL)--and this you're going to know far better than me--it keeps the accounting more organized and avoids issues of co-mingling.

Sounds like there are some liability issues as well. I found this:

It costs about $550 in Canada to register an LLC. I do use brand names...that's a concern. I've had experience with trademark infringement in another world. Limited Liability has a value.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
I do use brand names...that's a concern. I've had experience with trademark infringement in another world. Limited Liability has a value.
I recently researched the issue of brand names, business names, and real people's names. Consensus seems to indicate that if you do not disparage the named entity, you don't have any worries. Conversely, I'm almost tempted to contact the advertising department at the hotel/casino I'm using in our collab and ask if they'd like to pay for product placement. LOL

You just wouldn't want something like "My characters got Legionnaire's Disease at the downtown Atlanta Marriot. :)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I recently researched the issue of brand names, business names, and real people's names. Consensus seems to indicate that if you do not disparage the named entity, you don't have any worries. Conversely,
Yes, that is a common understanding based on generalities in the past, but when it comes to the law, it can be more black and white. Any company at any time can choose to follow the letter of the law and take action. There is a risk, one has to weigh what the stakes are, and it would be unique to each author, i.e. what have you got to lose? For myself, I would be willing to lose the proceeds of the book, but not my personal assets. That degree of separation with an LLC is a worthy consideration.

I'm almost tempted to contact the advertising department at the hotel/casino I'm using in our collab and ask if they'd like to pay for product placement. LOL
Have you heard the story of the Hotel California and the Eagles cover? The photographer received a cease and desist for using the Beverly Hills Hotel until the hotel's bookings sored.

You just wouldn't want something like "My characters got Legionnaire's Disease at the downtown Atlanta Marriot. :)
🤣
 
Last edited:

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
Yes, that is a common understanding based on generalities in the past, but when it comes to the law, it can be more black and white. Any company at any time can choose to follow the letter of the law and take action. There is a risk, one has to weigh what the stakes are, and it would be unique to each author, i.e. what have you got to lose? For myself, I would be willing to lose the proceeds of the book, but not my personal assets. That degree of separation with an LLC is a worthy consideration.
Once they get to court, they have to prove damages.

Trademark does not apply, since the author who casually mentions a brand is not using it in "In Commerce" ... unless they were to use the trademark in the book's title. Copyright does not apply, since a brief mention is allowed under "Fair Use". Defamation doesn't apply, in many cases even if you made a negative remark, since odds are it is defendable as opinion ... or even truth.

Could an author receive a "Cease and Desist" letter? Sure. "Cease and Desist" is not a legal action, it's an intimidation tactic ... and in many cases it may be the first indication the attorney has already advised his client there are miniscule, if any, damages, and no way to prove them at trial. Another term for such a letter is: Bluff. ;-)

This is an entirely different area than say, putting a celebrity or business name on a hat or a shirt and selling it.

Most lawyers would refuse to take the case. They can't prove damages, and even they could, they'd be unlikely to collect a large enough damage award to even pay their own fee.
Have you heard the story of the Hotel California and the Eagles cover? The photographer received a cease and desist for using the Beverly Hills Hotel until the hotel's bookings sored.
Sort of dovetails with my point above. Things like that were good examples that virtually ALL publicity is good publicity. That's how product placement got started in the first place. Why have a box of Cheer in your scene when you can ask Tide to pay you to put it there, instead? :)

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely encourage everyone in the arts to study all the law which could apply to their pursuit and KNOW it. For anyone who doesn't, it's like starting to drive without knowing the difference between Red, Yellow, and Green on a traffic signal. I'm occasionally baffled when I see a writer ask about Copyright. The first thing I did before I published my first product in 1982 was buy a book on Copyright and learn all about it, and I refresh my memory of the rules as needed. It doesn't take long to learn about Copyright, but it's rare I run into an author who can explain when Copyright occurs, and the different levels of protection afforded by displaying or registering their Copyright. Even the old "mail yourself a copy" myth still circulates.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
@vranger, It's great that you have so much experience in this area to share. I hope this thread is useful to others who have contemplated the legal aspects of publishing and selling a book. Every book will fall on a spectrum of risk depending on its content, and every author will have an individual risk appetite depending on their own circumstances. If you casually mention someone got up and poured a glass of Coke, you may be at less risk than if your character has a conversation about the branding strategy of the Coca-Cola company. You have to assess your manuscript's risk.

Just a few more considerations, not to be argumentative, only because I love discussing the law. :) ❤️
Once they get to court, they have to prove damages.
Or prove that you profited from it.
Trademark does not apply, since the author who casually mentions a brand is not using it in "In Commerce" ... unless they were to use the trademark in the book's title. Copyright does not apply, since a brief mention is allowed under "Fair Use". Defamation doesn't apply, in many cases even if you made a negative remark, since odds are it is defendable as opinion ... or even truth.
The law does provide guidelines for assessing fair use, but, determining fair use is not always easy since it is a grey area of the law.
Could an author receive a "Cease and Desist" letter? Sure. "Cease and Desist" is not a legal action, it's an intimidation tactic ... and in many cases it may be the first indication the attorney has already advised his client there are miniscule, if any, damages, and no way to prove them at trial. Another term for such a letter is: Bluff. ;-)
A cease and desist is a warning letter, for example, to remove any publication from distribution, that uses their brand name or risk legal action. Not sure why you see that as a bluff. Why would they bother? Are you thinking they might be looking for a settlement? Is getting a cease and desist first really the issue?
This is an entirely different area than say, putting a celebrity or business name on a hat or a shirt and selling it.

Most lawyers would refuse to take the case. They can't prove damages, and even they could, they'd be unlikely to collect a large enough damage award to even pay their own fee.
Typically large corporations with prominent brand names have in-house lawyers. And corporate law firms often work on a per-hour charge, not a contingency.
Sort of dovetails with my point above. Things like that were good examples that virtually ALL publicity is good publicity. That's how product placement got started in the first place. Why have a box of Cheer in your scene when you can ask Tide to pay you to put it there, instead? :)

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely encourage everyone in the arts to study all the law which could apply to their pursuit and KNOW it. For anyone who doesn't, it's like starting to drive without knowing the difference between Red, Yellow, and Green on a traffic signal. I'm occasionally baffled when I see a writer ask about Copyright. The first thing I did before I published my first product in 1982 was buy a book on Copyright and learn all about it, and I refresh my memory of the rules as needed. It doesn't take long to learn about Copyright, but it's rare I run into an author who can explain when Copyright occurs, and the different levels of protection afforded by displaying or registering their Copyright. Even the old "mail yourself a copy" myth still circulates.
Yes, and of course things change, as you mention, I'm sure the mail yourself a copy may have worked at some time.

I think for the majority of fiction, there may be no reason to take extra measures. However, fortunately, in this litigious world, especially in the U.S., there are plenty of safeguards to protect yourself. It's an individual choice, for which ones suit your project and your risk appetite.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
A cease and desist is a warning letter, for example, to remove any publication from distribution, that uses their brand name or risk legal action. Not sure why you see that as a bluff. Why would they bother? Are you thinking they might be looking for a settlement? Is getting a cease and desist first really the issue?
It could be any number of things. They might want a negotiated settlement, or they might actually want the use terminated. In either case, a Cease and Desist letter has no legal force. It's merely an indication you're on their radar. It's up to the recipient to gauge whether or not they actually have any liability and whether to cooperate. The recipient might contact an attorney, who might answer the C&D letter. What's actually happening is attorneys are getting to bill for circumstances which may bear no benefit whatsoever to either client, but make plenty of money for the attorneys. LOL

And yes, getting a C&D letter instead of service of a suit could very well mean the attorney has advised there is no compliant which will stand up in court, so "we might as well try this". I've had attorneys tell me, "There's really no point in pursuing this, but I can send them a letter." ;-) Better attorneys will refuse to bluff like that, but the world is chock full of crappy attorneys.

In such a case the attorney will carefully avoid the explicit threat of a lawsuit in the letter, and instead use language like "to protect our client's interest". They'll make it sound as scary as they can without making a fraudulent claim. Even language like "If you have not complied within xx days, we will take further action" doesn't mean a lawsuit is an option. That's to worry the recipient about what the "further action" might be. It might just be another letter, or they might drop it entirely.
Yes, and of course things change, as you mention, I'm sure the mail yourself a copy may have worked at some time.
It is not an element of Copyright law, and to my knowledge, never has been. Were I to argue that in court, I'd point out the copyright claimant had no way to prove they didn't send themself an unsealed envelope, then insert anything they wanted to at any time after that and seal it at that time. At no time in history would that argument have failed to get such "evidence" ruled irrelevant.

You are legally entitled to copyright at the moment of creation of the work (under US Copyright law). After that, you need to show certain evidence you did indeed create it, as your own work, and when. There are several ways an author may achieve that, but registration is the most secure alternative, AND the only one that permits an award of statutory damages, plus attorney's fees and cost of suit.
 
Top