This is a copy of the letter which I sent in response to the cease and desist letter I received from the lawyers representing John Lennon's estate.
December 2, 1996
Re: The Estate of John Lennon
Dear Ms. W.:
I am writing this in response to your letter dated November 22, 1996 regarding the web site devoted to John Lennon which I created and which was hosted at the University of Missouri. In response to your letter, the University of Missouri completely shut down my web site. I felt this action was more than what was necessary since I believe you only wanted specific items removed.
I had no idea that my efforts could potentially constitute any infringement or violation of another's rights. My only desire was to create a web site to honor John Lennon's memory by sharing his ideals and accomplishments with other fans around the world. In spite of the fact that I worked for over two years on the web site, logging hundreds of hours, I never attempted to earn any money from my work. It was truly a labor of love, pure and simple.
The site was created and maintained with the utmost in professionalism. I have received numerous awards on it's design and content and even the magazine Entertainment Weekly gave it an "A+" rating. Most importantly, I have received thousands of letters from John Lennon and Beatles fans all over the world expressing their gratitude that such a resource was available to them.
Furthermore, I strongly believe that my web site directly benefited John Lennon's estate. For example, in the "Albums" section, visitors to the web site could contribute reviews of John Lennon's albums as well as read what others had submitted. This undoubtedly encouraged some people to purchase the albums. I even provided a direct link to a retailer which sells John Lennon's albums on the Internet. In the "Artwork" section, which seems to be the main focus of your letter, I listed the names and contact information for art dealers who sell official John Lennon lithographs. This resulted in the sale of at least one lithograph I am aware of and probably many more that were not reported to me.
I feel that I am uniquely qualified in creating a high-quality web site devoted to John Lennon because of my depth of knowledge about John Lennon, my strong computer skills, and most importantly, my devotion to the project as demonstrated during the past two years. I plan to open a new web site devoted to John Lennon sometime in the near future. I hope you'll agree that my former web site was mutually beneficial and that you will grant me a license to use some copyrighted items for the new web site. I'm sure that we can reach an agreement as to what I can and cannot use that will be satisfactory to both of us. Please respond with the required steps I need to take to reach such an agreement.
This letter is not an admission of guilt or any wrong doing on my part. All of my rights are hereby expressly reserved.
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