Copyright infringement scam

This is new to me and the first time I’ve received this type of e-mail. I’ve redacted all names since the photographer on whose behalf this email appears to have been sent is a reputable photographer in the Bay Area.

Dear Sir/Madam:

I’m a representative of [REDACTED]. The purpose of this notice is to notify you that several graphic and/or visual works shown on the web site property associated with your legal entity are in reality the intellectual property of [REDACTED] who actually is a skilled digital photographer. [REDACTED] reserves and is the owner of all proper rights to the works in question. You’re able to browse the infringing works by sticking with this particular hyperlink:


Since you have not asked authorization to utilize, nor to make or/and distribute, offer, lend or rent all these works, you are therefore in violation of the 1976 U.S. Copyright ACT Title 17 of U.S. Code, Sections 102(a), 106-121.

You’re now warned to CEASE AND DESIST any and all additional illegal behaviors of copyright infringement by promptly removing the offending graphic and/or pictorial materials from public availability on the net intellectual property connected with your entity.

Failure to comply with the following notification within one (1) working day is going to be reasons for filling up a civil action suit against you and/or your legal entity, seeking monetary damage and compensation for court and lawyer’s service fees charged as a primary outcome of your unlawful activities of copyright infringement.

It isn’t our intend to hunt legal recourse, however, kindly note that no more warnings will be given should you neglect to abide by our authorized demand within the time given.

If you personally lack the specialized skillset to carry out the demanded activities, we recommend immediately getting in touch with the maintainer of the internet property and instructing these to comply with this CEASE AND DESIST letter on your behalf. You are strongly recommended to forward this document to them in order to achieve this task.

You are also permitted to route this notice some other engaged stakeholders and/or decision makers within your business as necessary.

Please remember to discover the info regarding the illegal materials to be removed via this link below, and act quick to avoid further penalties.


Sonny O’Connor

I tried looking up the name of the person who allegedly sent the message and could not find a lawyer with this name. But apparently this is a somewhat common scam, just with different message text. So… I guess they’re adapting.

Update: I forwarded this email to the photographer on whose behalf it was allegedly being sent. This is the reply I received:

Hello Kenneth – Yes, it has been brought to my attention that someone is sending emails claiming to be my legal counsel and is distributing cease and desist letters regarding copyright infringement on my behalf. Please note this is a scam, this individual is illegally using my name, and I have not authorized such representation or legal action on my behalf. It is also important to note that my accounts have not been hacked or compromised in any way. I appreciate you letting me know you received such a notice.

Hopefully there’s something they can do to get out from under this, since this has the potential to damage their reputation as a photographer – the main reason I didn’t put their name on this.