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Rights to completed work

Community Guru
Scott E Member Since: Jul 26, 2015
11 of 23

Obviously I'm not 100% sure how accurate this is, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the rights do not revert to the freelancer if they refund the money. Unless they speak to the client beforehand and it's specifically agree that's what will happen. 


The contract is to deliver a logo and get paid $40 dollars for it once it's been provided. If that happens, then the contract is fulfilled and is complete. The client has checked a box saying that the freelancer has delivered what was agreed. 


At that point, if they freelancer refunds them $40 then they're essentially just giving them $40 out of the goodness of their hearts. I'm pretty sure there's no provision in the contract that the freelancer can get the rights back. 

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
12 of 23

Scott, what you say here makes a lot of sense.


It makes more sense than having a situation in which a contractor has the unlimited, endless right to reclaim the right to their creation.


Could Stan Lee and the heirs of Jack Kirby gain rights to the Avengers simply by refunding the $50 or however much was paid to the original creators of the Avengers back in the early 1960s? Obviously not.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
13 of 23


You provided a well-articulated defense of Customer Service workers.


I don't mean to belittle individual customer service representatives, although I can see how my condemnation of using customer support for certain purposes can be perceived as such.

Community Guru
Cairenn R Member Since: Aug 19, 2015
14 of 23

Preston, you are misleading people and giving incorrect information. 


Have you a law degree or worked specicially in Copyright, Trademark and/or IP law? I'm guessing not. I have. 


Step back a lot. 


Ace Contributor
John S Member Since: Jun 26, 2015
15 of 23

I don't mean to be rude, but Preston's answers are useless and only flooding the topic. There is a real problem with Upwork's terms that needs to be issued. Upwork should clearly state that once the full amoun of the agreed upon payment has been issued all rights are irrevocably transferred to the client, regardless of any refunds at a late point in time.


Again Preston - not to be rude, but to clarify the obvious - the terms currently state "receipt of full payment from Client" - it says receipt of payment not keeping of payment. It doesn't state for as long as the freelancer keeps the money, so I guess legally a refund would not affect the rights, but just because it's not clearly stated it should be specified, and as I could see from the theme here - some people do get confused.


Otherwise if  really lose rights, I would simply stop leaving anything but positive feedback, just because the freelancer may decided 2 months down the road they don't want a negative feedback and refund the money. Then I lose rights to work I'm already using. In fact I would just stop using Upwork altogether because I simply would not know when I can lose rights.


So PLEASE - an Upwork official - clarify this. Be very specific. State it in your Terms.

Community Guru
Claudia Z Member Since: Jul 28, 2015
16 of 23

John, when the money were refunded, the rights to the work were reversed to the freelancer.


To get back the rights to the work you have to fill a dispute. Its time consuming but its supposed to protect from abusive practices.


Using the work without disputing or getting the freelancer written approval its like playing with fire because you never know if they dont come back later and play some other card.

Ace Contributor
John S Member Since: Jun 26, 2015
17 of 23

Again, I would like an Upwork official representative to provide a clear answer.


If anyone has any way of reaching out to an Upwork official - please do so - that would be the only real help for this subject matter.

Community Guru
Cairenn R Member Since: Aug 19, 2015
18 of 23

There's only two places with the correct information. 






And IP law is entirely different:






Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
19 of 23

John: I seriously doubt anybody at Upwork wants to provide an official answer to your difficult questions.


You should think about this from their perspective...


What does Upwork want?


They want to make money by connecting freelancers with clients and collecting 10% of freelancer's earnings.

That is the heart of what they do.

They don't want ANY refunds and they don't want any disputes, because that is money out of their pockets.


How are they making money by answering your question?


All they would accomplish would be to give official approval to some client or dome contractor who wants to act like a jerk and "follow the rules" instead of doing the morally correct thing to do.


To make an official statement beyond what they have already stated on their website would be open up avenues for abuse, in my opinion. So you are currently left with what is on the website, along with Upwork's hope that most clients and contractors will simply treat each other respectfully and fairly without needing to cite a rule book or case law.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
20 of 23

Cairenn, I appreciate your links, points and perspective.


You clearly have a healthy respect for the law. Whether or not you share my healthy cynicism about the law is something only you can say for sure.


The law is the law.


It is important. It should be considered. But ultimately the law is just stuff that some people somewhere made up. Things that were illegal last year are legal this year. And vice versa.


The law does not necessarily tell us what is right or wrong.


The law does not dictate Upwork policy.


Upwork can have policies that go beyond the law and which even contradict your own interpretation of the law.


Upwork can choose to have no policies at all on some matters, and allow people to follow the dictates of their conscience and their own interpretation of law and morality.