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Copyright violation by a client

Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
1 of 20
I have a client who published my work (which is not fully paid for), and when I reminded him of his balance, he closed the contract and ruined my feedback score. Because of this, I refunded him in full and filed a ticket. Until now, he is using my content (and they are the most popular posts on his site, even if they had only been published for a few days). So he has two offenses of deliberate violation of site TOS and copyright laws right? Okay, maybe just one offense, but still, it should be taken seriously. 1. Publishing content which is only partially paid. 2. Still using my content even after I messaged him that I filed a complaint and even though he fully knows that his partial payment has been refunded in full. Btw, the message I sent him when I first saw that he published my not yet fully paid articles under his name is this: Hi XXXX! Just a follow up, I saw the articles are already posted in your site although I'm not fully paid for them yet. Thanks! Dianne ------------------------------------------------------------- His excuse for giving me an unfair rating is because he thinks my message is "too complaining" He never responded to my messages pertaining to his violation nor acknowledged it, just keeps on talking about unrelated things and giving excuses that I spelled something wrong etc etc. Why would he use my articles if they are full of errors as he claims? I also checked the original file I sent him VS what he posted on his site via copyscape content comparison. Guess what? They are 100% duplicates. It means that his claim about him needing to correct errors in it is simply a lie/excuse. He won't acknowledge that he did something wrong and instead is trying to wiggle his way out of it by bringing up imagined things. This is a client who I had to remind that in order for me to send him my work, he has to hire me first. He thought that an interview is enough without an existing contract. I find this weird since he has hired me several times before in the past without a hitch. I don't know his motive or why he suddenly turned into the opposite of how nice he was before. It is like he turned into another person. Right now I just want him to take down my articles and to adhere to site rules, but there is no response yet from the ticket. It bothers me that people can get away with this. I hope oDesk acts on it soon. EDIT: The client has been refunded for the partial payment in full, so they paid $0. Here is what is on the User Agreement [quote]For Fixed-Price Contracts, Client has complete and sole discretion whether and how much to pay; however, if Client does not pay in full, Freelancer may terminate the Service Contract by refunding any partial payment, and Freelancer will retain Proprietary Rights in Work Product.[/quote] Additional questions: 1. I retain full Proprietary Rights in my Work Product right? 2. May I publish it on my website then? Will the client have any say to it? 3. Would I get in trouble if they file a DMCA thing and accuse me of content theft since they published it first, although I own the work and they have no right to publish it in the first place?


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Community Guru
Heather H Member Since: May 9, 2011
2 of 20
I am sorry to tell you that oDesk will not do anything for you. They will not contct the client, nor will they make him remove your content. All you can do now is file a take down notice with DMCA- and even then, it will take a lot of time. I hate this as well, and have been through it on several occasions, pretty much, you are out of luck on your money, and on your content. There is no real recourse in this case. Heather
Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
3 of 20
Wow! Anyway I will post my content on my site,and I'll take action when they file a complaint against me. The content is not paid for, hence I retain all rights to it. This is really disturbing though. More and more clients will do this and get away with it.


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Active Member
Robin C Member Since: Jan 10, 2012
4 of 20
You expect oDesk to take some sort of action on copyright? Why are you working here if you do not understand oDesk's views on things such as this? oDesk does not care about the amount he pays or if it matches what you agreed to. Regardless of if they care or not, they are certainly not going to do anything that involves asking or forcing him to remove the content from his site.
Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
5 of 20
With what I am hearing from you now, it seems you think that oDesk does not respect their own User Agreement https://www.odesk.com/info/terms/#general [quote] 3.6 Work Product. Proprietary Rights in Work Product shall be owned by Freelancer until payment has been made by Client, at which time Freelancer will be deemed to have assigned all Proprietary Rights in the Work Product to Client. For Hourly-Rate Contracts, Client must pay for all hours that qualify for the Payment Guarantee. For Fixed-Price Contracts, Client has complete and sole discretion whether and how much to pay; however, if Client does not pay in full, Freelancer may terminate the Service Contract by refunding any partial payment, and Freelancer will retain Proprietary Rights in Work Product. [/quote] Where did you get the idea that oDesk does not care if the client pays or not? Are you sure of that? Are you speaking for the site now?


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Active Member
Robin C Member Since: Jan 10, 2012
6 of 20
Which is what your post states you are waiting on. Your question is "How long does it take oDesk to act on a copyright violation?" Not what the freelancer may do. If a client pays anything, oDesk considers it their property, regardless of the legalities of that or if there is anything left owing.
Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
7 of 20
Okay, I get your point, but the client has been refunded for the partial payment in full, so they paid $0. Here is what is on the User Agreement [quote]For Fixed-Price Contracts, Client has complete and sole discretion whether and how much to pay; however, if Client does not pay in full, Freelancer may terminate the Service Contract by refunding any partial payment, and Freelancer will retain Proprietary Rights in Work Product.[/quote] I retain full Proprietary Rights in my Work Product right? May I publish it on my website then? Will the client have any say to it? What if they file a DMCA thing and accuse me of content theft (since they published it first)?


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Active Member
Robin C Member Since: Jan 10, 2012
8 of 20
The fact is, you legally have far more rights than what the oDesk ToS elude to or what oDesk itself would probably admit. The problem is, you are thinking oDesk will do anything about the infringement on your rights. If the client has not paid the agreed upon amount, and you can prove that, the client has no right to your work. It is actually much easier to prove authorship (thus ownership) than it is for someone else (said client) to prove ownership. The question is whether it is really worth all the hassle. Getting it up on your site before the client does is the best way to go, but it is obviously too late for that now. This is your battle; oDesk will not fight it for you.
Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
9 of 20
Thanks for the response Smiley Happy So maybe for the next jobs I would publish them on my site first and then take them down when the client paid full payment (would this lead to other problems?) I know as contractors we have more rights than oDesk wants us to be aware of. As for myself, I just want to adhere to site rules/user agreement. It really makes me uncomfortable that they simply let other people get away with not adhering to the User Agreement. I wonder what would happen if I accept payment outside of oDesk, for sure they would be very swift to enforce the agreement then Smiley Tongue


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Active Member
Exp U Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
10 of 20
[quote]So maybe for the next jobs I would publish them on my site first and then take them down when the client paid full payment (would this lead to other problems?)[/quote] Nope. This could invoke a Google plagiarism penalty for someone who has paid for the work. It wouldn't be fair to your client. For you, oDesk isn't going to be much help. You've refunded the money; there's no money in it for oDesk and anything they did do would add cost for not much in the way of benefit for them. Take out a ticket and report it anyway though...if the client runs a pattern of not paying for work then they may eventually hoof his account. You've pretty well lost the time; but reporting it may help future contractors out. Accepting payment outside of oDesk is a bad move. If a client doesn't have a problem carving oDesk out; then they're fairly unlikely to be too bothered about stitching you up.
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