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Lawyer advice: Freelance work "stolen"?

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by kmp77, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. kmp77

    kmp77 Active Member

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    So I did some freelance work for a client. My work was used to build software, an application. I have been paid 40% of what is promised. It's been 5 months since I've been paid and now the software is about to go live for download. Client is ignoring emails and text messages. At this point I really think they're ducking me.

    So what actions can I take? Can I block the software from going live since a big part of it is stolen work? At what point can I reclaim the pieces I created? Any advice would be appreciated!!!
  2. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    Tell them you were prepared for this scenario. That you built a bug into the program that if you didn't pay in full by the time it went live, that it would crash and would cause them problems. At least they will talk to you then. :D
  3. Reality

    Reality Administrator Staff Member

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    While I applaud the thinking, this is definitely not something you really want to do because it would open you up to many potential legal issues.

    #reality
  4. Reality

    Reality Administrator Staff Member

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    The first question I have is did you have a paper contract with them outlining the work (scope) of the project? If so, did that contract include payment amounts and payment schedules?

    If you want to either be paid or stop them from distributing the product and you cannot convince them to resolve this to your satisfaction, you will need to hire an attorney. The attorney can go to court to seek a temporary injunction to prevent them distributing the product while you attempt to negotiate or litigate if necessary to resolve the outstanding balance owed to you.

    If the product they are distributing is being sold, you can have an attorney send them a letter stating that if they do not pay the rest of what is owed to you, you plan to sue them for 60% of their revenue gained from the product's sale since they have only paid you for 40%. If they are distributing it free, you can (with your attorney) put a price on each copy downloaded and threaten to sue them for 60% of that amount.

    It is ALWAYS better to try avoiding threats at this point, but sometimes you have no choice. Once they make the product available for download, your attorney could send them a C&D (Cease and Desist) letter stating intent to sue if they fail to do so.

    If you have proof that you own the product or at least they have not completed payment, you could always send their hosting company a DMCA Takedown Notice claiming copyright infringement. If you do that though, you need to make sure you can back it up because they could in turn sue you for damages since a DMCA Takedown Notice is not a court order.

    #reality
  5. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    12 gauge and a box of shells. :D

    [youtube]cjEu4piLKww[/youtube]

    [youtube]bRHh9dj-7DM[/youtube]
  6. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    Legal Smhegal.

    :laugh2:
  7. kmp77

    kmp77 Active Member

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    I didn't program it so no, no backdoors built in. I've done something similar to flash applications I've done in the past....have a blocker that pops up after a certain date unless I disable it :)

    I designed the application for a company for a third party. I can't/won't sue the third party since they paid for the application to be built. It's the company I freelanced for that's not paying and giving out my share. A lot of the contract was oral but I have email chains and chat logs talking about getting paid. It's just not enough money to hire an attorney for :/ Sounds like I may be SOL.
  8. rkell87

    rkell87 Well-Known Member

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    perhaps one of the fine lawyers on this site would send the client a letter of representation on your behalf free of charge along with a break down of just how much it will cost them to lawyer up as compared to paying you for services received just so you know what kind of ****** you are dealing with( the kind that will try to screw to see if you will do something about it or the kind that will screw you no matter what)

    other than that when the site goes live post the url on reddit and 4chan explaining that this company stole your work and you will at least get a crowd sourced DDoS attack out of it ;)
  9. Idgit

    Idgit Ice up, son. Ice up! Staff Member

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    Consider it a cheap lesson that you always need a subcontracting agreement. Then use a collections agent aggressively if you don't get paid on term after services are rendered. Don't be shy about collecting for your work.
  10. rkell87

    rkell87 Well-Known Member

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  11. baj1dallas

    baj1dallas New Member

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    Can't hurt to send an email to the owner of the software that they're including code that has been stolen by the company that contracted you but didn't pay you.
  12. kmp77

    kmp77 Active Member

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    I'm in contact with him. Neither of us can get a hold of the party being discussed.

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