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Cease And Desist! - The Letter

On November 12, 1998, I received a letter by certified mail from the Dixie Chicks' attorneys, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. Here is the full text of the message, with some notes of my own.

November 9, 1998


Robert Brooks
Totoro Consulting
[My Address]
Grand Prairie, TX [zip]

Re: Copyright Infringement/Dixie Chicks MP3 Files

Dear Mr. Brooks:

This letter is sent to demand that you immediately cease and desist your infringement of the rights of the Dixie Chicks.

This office represents the Dixie Chicks, who are the exclusive owners of the sound recordings embodied in the albums entitiled "Thank Heavens For Dale Evans" and "Little Ol' Cowgirl" which were previously released by Crystal Clear Sound. The ownership of these sound recordings and the copyright in them give the Dixie Chicks the right to control their commercial and non-commercial exploitation, including exploitation on the internet, under the laws of the United States and the various states.

Actually, there was not a copy of the web page included... an oversight, but a trival one.

It is clear in this paragraph that somebody actually read the copyright notices at the bottom of the page. Cool!

It has come to the attention of Senior Management, the Dixie Chicks' personal manager, that you are offering on the internet free downloading of .mp3 files of certain sound recordings from these albums. A true copy of your "Dixie Chicks MP3 FILES" webpage is enclosed with this letter. No permission or authorization has been obtained by you from any person on behalf of the Dixie Chicks in connection with these sound recordings. Your actions described above infringe the Dixie Chicks' rights in numerous ways, including but not limited to copyright infringement in violation of the federal Copyright Act, U.S.C. ¶¶ 501 et seq. Contrary to the assertion contained on your webpage, your unauthorized distribution of these sound recordings is not protected under the so-called "fair use" doctrine.

On behalf of our clients, we demand that you do the following:

(1) Immediately cease and desist all distribution and/or advertising and/or artwork concerning the above-referenced items;

(2) Agree in writing that you will engage in no further activities concerning these items;

Item (3) is the only place where they overstepped their authority. I didn't generate any revenue from the sound files -- I gave them away! And what business is it whether parts of the site not covered by their letter generate revenue or not?
(3) Provide us with an accounting of all revenues that you have obtained from these items or from "The Unofficial All-Inclusive Dixie Chicks Page"

(4) Immediately destroy all files and codes that are currently in your posession, custody or control concerning these items and related artwork; and

(5) Immediately remove all reference to, including all links to, these items on your websites.

Please be advised that if you do not do all the foregoing within the time stated above, and in no event later than ten (10) days form the date of this letter, we have been instructed by the Dixie Chicks' management to pursue all legal rights and remedies in connection with this matter.

John C. Beiter


cc: Dixie Chicks
Simon Renshaw, Senior Management
Tripod, Inc. (Via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested)
Dallas Internet (Ethos Communications) (Via Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested)
Gail Edwin, Esq., Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. (all w/encl.)


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Last update: 01/15/1999 by Robert Brooks
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