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Unsure of how to proceed with client who wants to end contract early

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
11 of 20

Preston H wrote:

 

If you hired a carpenter to build you a gazeebo based on your design, and then didn't pay him, do you know what he would do?

He would come to your back yard and tear it down and haul away any materials he thinks he can use. Not a darn thing you can do about it.

 

Which is, of course, of an ENTIRELY different legal character than if he took the gazebo he'd built using your design and sold it to someone else, or displayed it on his own property, which is what you're actually telling OP she is free to do. That may or may not be true, depending on the nature and extent of the client's contribution. You really must stop giving legal advice.

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
12 of 20

Erica S wrote:

Is retaining ownership true if it was something written from her notes/outline? 


I'm no expert on copyright, but if you were hired as a ghostwriter using her ideas and notes, then I'm pretty sure you don't own the work. In any case, I would not escalate the situation unnecessarily by bringing this up with her right now. I also don't think that an NDA is void if you don't get paid. You might want to double-check any advice that you're given in the forum.

Active Member
Erica S Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
13 of 20

Thanks for your reply, Christine. I'm no expert in any of this, either! And I really would like to avoid escalating anything. 

Community Guru
Kim F Member Since: Aug 26, 2015
14 of 20
Erica S wrote:

Is retaining ownership true if it was something written from her notes/outline? 

Agree with Christine,  above. Technically, it would be more nuanced and depend on the nature and extent of the notes you used. (Ideas aren't copyrightable but the expression of them is.) Whenever client assets are used to produce a piece of writing, assuming you hold copyright if they don't pay could put you in a dangerous position. 

 

> I also don't think that an NDA is void if you don't get paid. 

 

Course not. It's a completely separate contract to your work contract. It's common to sign an NDA at the stage of discussing a project that might never progress. That doesn't mean you can then tell everyone about it. 

 

You might end up in a dispute. She might cave. Given that the client risks paying a total of over $1k if she loses arbitration, she may take it to dispute but decide to go no further.  You have nothing to lose at the moment by simply repeating that $1k is your fee for the work done and not budging from that position.  

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
15 of 20

Preston H wrote:

 

 

re: "but I did sign an NDA, so not sure how that works"

 

If you aren't paid for this work, the NDA is void.

It is meaningless, because she broke the contract. If she doesn't pay you, then YOU own the book. And you can do anything you want with it.


That is dangerous and absolute nonsense. Maybe in the world of making up what is and is not fair as we go along it might make sense. Legally, however, this is not necessarily true.

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

re: "That is dangerous and absolute nonsense. That is dangerous and absolute nonsense. Maybe in the world of making up what is and is not fair as we go along it might make sense. Legally, however, this is not necessarily true."

 

I have to agree with Petra on this.

 

I don't think anybody here is happy with a client unilaterally deciding to simply NOT PAY for work that she commissioned, work that a freelancer worked hard on.

 

But from a legal perspective, that doesn't necessarily mean that an NDA is invalid.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
17 of 20

Preston H wrote:

 

But from a legal perspective, that doesn't necessarily mean that an NDA is invalid.


So why do you insist on telling people they can use stuff in their portfolio or own the work product when often they clearly must not use it and do not own the rights, again and again? You have cheerfully claimed that people can use and / or own edited / translated / worked on stuff, the rights to which often clearly, at other times probably or possibly belong to the original creator... Please stop it. One of these days someone will end up in real trouble because of this nonsense.

 


Tiffany S wrote:

You really must stop giving legal advice.

I could not agree more.

 

 

 

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
18 of 20

If she offers $750 during the dispute process, I'd take it. Avoiding the stress of drawing this out is worth giving up the extra $250 and if the client claims quality issues you could end up with nothing. Smiley Sad

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
19 of 20

Erica, this won't help you with this situation, but to avoid this happening again, use milestones as they are intended. The whole point of the milestone system is that you are not submitting anything to the client without having completed a payable chunk so that you can click that "submit/request payment" button when you send it. By sending the content for half of a milestone, you basically completed an unfunded milestone for the 15,000 words you sent.

Active Member
Erica S Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
20 of 20

Thank you, everyone, for your replies and suggestions. I did use the "submit work" button to request $750, and the client approved the milestone and I have refunded the remaining escrow. I will be more careful next time and use milestones as intended, as Tiffany pointed out. In the end, neither client or I got exactly what we wanted, but I guess that is the best outcome for this situation. Again, thanks to everyone, really appreciate it. 

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