I am a semi-retired business writer using UpWork to fill time and get some variety. I am generally ok with content ownership and protection contracts but it gets sticky if a deal goes sour and I am never compensated. I am wondering if all if these content agreements are valid if the project was dropped and not paid for...
If I sign an agreement via my personal email and the client does not pursue the entire writing engagement, do I still have to abide by the agreements?
Do I own the work that was done if the client never paid?
Can I use work I've written as examples to other prospects if they never paid completely?
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Yes, you can use the work as an example or portfolio item if you own it because it wasn't paid for.
Some people here like to put caveats on that. I think you can act responsibly and charitably in your application of this principle, out of concerns for privacy and such. But that is the client taking a risk.
If a client hired me to work with a document and doesn't pay me for my work, and I publicize the document... Blame for that definitely lies with the client.