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What to do if a former client stole my byline and attributed a dozen articles to someone else?

juliework6
Active Member
Julie W Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
1 of 13

I worked for a former client for low pay with the agreement that I would get attribution for my articles. He's now changed them on his website and given credit to someone else--essentially stealing my work. Do I have any recourse? Can I report him or have him blocked as a client here on upwork? I've already reached out to him and asked him to change it, but he hasn't responded. 

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 13

Unless it's some large company where they promised you a byline, I'd move on. If it's some no-name blahhhhhg, then you didn't suffer any damages.

juliework6
Active Member
Julie W Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
3 of 13

Dear Jennifer M. 

That's a completely unhelpful answer. I don't suffer any damages? That's my work and it has been stolen. Have you ever had something stolen from you? Have you ever heard of intellectual property? (Are you a writer or artist of any sort? If not, maybe you don't understand the value of a personal creation) 

The whole reason I discovered this is that I was going to use one of those articles as a part of my bio for a potential new client. MY work. MY ideas. And now, if I use it in my bio, it looks like I have actually stolen it from someone else. 

We had an agreement and now this client has broken that agreement. I want to report them to Upwork so at least they cannot hire on here and steal from someone else! 

Please, if someone else here has a HELPFUL answer, please let me know!



 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 13

Julie W wrote:


We had an agreement and now this client has broken that agreement. I want to report them to Upwork so at least they cannot hire on here and steal from someone else! 

Please, if someone else here has a HELPFUL answer, please let me know!


The client did not steal your work, they bought it. As far as Upwork is concerned, the client hired you, you were paid, that's it.

 

Whatever private arrangements you had with the client are between yourself and the client. And Jennifer is a writer, so she does know what she is talking about.

 

Unless you have an actual agreement about the intellectual property (NOT whether you get a byline or not) all rights pass to the client upon payment under Upwork's default terms.

 

Even if you have such an agreement, it is still between the client and yourself. Upwork does not get involved in that and certainly won't kick out a client over it.

juliework6
Active Member
Julie W Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
5 of 13

Wow. You guys are harsh. That is not at all what I expected from a community forum. I imagined the community would be supportive and would want to protect others from deceitful clients. My bad. 

I find the fact that you are called "Solution Authors" to be a bit of an overstatement. 

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 13

Julie W wrote:

Wow. You guys are harsh. That is not at all what I expected from a community forum. I imagined the community would be supportive and would want to protect others from deceitful clients. My bad. 

I find the fact that you are called "Solution Authors" to be a bit of an overstatement. 


I am being supportive. Don't sweat the small stuff. If it's a no-name blaaaahg and they didn't give you a byline, nothing of value was lost.

 

Adobe screwed me over a byline and I was mad too. But fighting their $1000/hour lawyers probably ain't in the cards so whatever man I put their name on my portfolio and left it at that.

juliework6
Active Member
Julie W Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
7 of 13


I am being supportive. Don't sweat the small stuff. If it's a no-name blaaaahg and they didn't give you a byline, nothing of value was lost.

Jennifer M. 

It seems that you and I have different definitions of "value" and "support". Fascinating, since we are both writers, that we would have such different understandings of English words. 

And I'm not sure why everyone keeps assuming that I want to take legal action. I didn't say that. I wondered if I could report the client to Upwork. Apparently that was in a moment of insanity when I forgot that Upwork doesn't care about anything but money.

 

I am sane again now and will get off of this platform before anyone else gets hurt. I'll find my support elsewhere, in a place where people understand what that means. But thanks for trying.



petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 13

There is nothing "harsh" about facts. They are neither cuddly nor harsh nor anything else. They just are.

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

Upwork has clear default contract language. Unless you establish a separate alternative contract, the client owns the work and may certainly attribute it to someone else.

 

Which is very normal in the world of writing and publishing.

 

Lots of books are "written" by famous people who never even read the books much less written them. Like William Shatner's science fiction novels. Not to mention all the books written by people who don't even exist, but are published under the names of house pseudonyms. E.g. Carolyn Keene, Franklin W. Dixon, etc.

juliework6
Active Member
Julie W Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
10 of 13

I understand Ghost-writing. This is not that. But I appreciate your comment and the fact that your explanation is not flippant. 

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