A cease and desist (also called C & D) is an order or request to halt an activity, or else face legal action. The recipient of the cease-and-desist may be an individual or an organization. It is commonly known to be conducted by Square Enix against fan-based games within the Chrono (Series).
The term is used in two different contexts. A cease-and-desist order can be issued by a judge or government authority, and has a well-defined legal meaning. In contrast, a cease-and-desist letter can be sent by anyone, although typically they are drafted by a lawyer.
A judge may issue a cease-and-desist order with the intent to halt an illegal activity. This prohibition is sometimes used as the outcome of a trial, in which case it is a permanent injunction against the activity. It can also be used as an emergency measure to prevent possibly irreparable harm, in which case it takes the form of a temporary injunction. An injunction against speech issued before it occurs (e.g. preventing a pending publication) is called prior restraint.
Use by administrative agenciesEdit
Many government administrative agencies also have the ability to issue cease-and-desist orders and frequently use them to halt the sale of unregistered or fraudulent securities, to halt banking practices that would possibly be dangerous to institutions, and to enforce licensing statutes. These orders usually specify a period of time for the recipient of the order to request a hearing. If a hearing is not requested by the recipient in the given time, the cease-and-desist order becomes final and the agency has the ability to enforce its order in a court of law.
A cease-and-desist letter is a letter demanding that the recipient refrain from a certain behavior or face legal action. Some types of behaviors that may prompt such letters include:
- Harassment by telephone by a collection agency or junk debt buyers
- Stalking or other forms of harassment
- Property, neighborhood, and boundary disputes
- Patent infringement, copyright infringement or trademark infringement
- Libel or slander
In the case of copyright or trademark infringement, libel, and slander, the letter typically threatens a civil lawsuit if the recipient continues the undesired activity. It is similar in form, although not in function, to a demand letter, which alerts the recipient to a pending claim for money damages, usually as a result of a tort or a breach of contract.
Many fans have made complaints to Square-Enix, requesting that the production of fan-games continue, so long as no profits are made by those imitating Square-Enix's name. Yet, Square-Enix refuses to respond to these complaints.