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Client steals artwork, then pays me. Now what?

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  • #16
    *Steals your bike*

    Oh btw here is 50 bucks. Thanks for the bike.

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    • #17
      Riefnu has a good point! What if you decide that that particular graphic is worth three million dollars, and the cheque of $XX doesn't cover the value of the image? Particularly as you had planned to use it for your own promotions and are now put off doing so. The more I think about it, the more this guy is a creep trying to buy his way out of a legal snafu. Up to you if you let him. Might not be worth your time to chase it up, i guess it depends how much it's ticked you off.

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      • #18
        Is there a way to find out where he's having the printing done? Might be worth a phone call to let them know the story. You have the website with the original art to prove your story and who wants to work with a shmuck?

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        • #19
          This just happened on Friday when I got the check, so I haven't cashed it yet. Right now I think I am leaning towards keeping the money, but educating him that it wasn't the correct way to do business. "A bird in hand," you know. I'm still going to use it for self-promotion, there's not much he can do about that.

          Just, how to structure the contract? Give him the rights to use the image as his logo, while keeping the rights to use the image elsewhere? Is there any precedent or examples of this? I think it was foolish on his part. I would have sold him a completely original logo for the same price.

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          • #20
            He paid you to use the logo but never bought the rights to it as far as I'm concerned seeing as there is no contract - I would think of it in terms of photography or software - he simply bought a non-exclusive image license to use your work - similar to buying from a stock site.
            Tumblr Blog Thing

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            • #21
              The suggestion to extend clipart-style rights may work in this case. How about a letter like this?

              ---------
              Dear client: I'm happy that you like the artwork and sent payment promptly. However, for various reasons I cannot offer a complete transfer of copyright on this particular image. I have included a contract granting specific and non-exclusive rights to use the image for your organization. Upon receipt of this signed contract I will accept your payment and we can move forward. I appreciate your attention to this matter, and I look forward to working with you again in the future.
              ---------
              I think I'll include language restricting him from selling merchandise on a wide scale, if that's possible. It's actually a small organization so I don't anticipate that anyway. Probably just in-house stuff.

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              • #22
                that sounds pretty good to me. if he has a problem with it then send him back his check and tell him to pull all his merch with you work on it he got himself into this situation so he is at your mercy.

                "There's something about turning the pages of a book or magazine and the felling of rubbing your hands across the words."

                This is my pen tool. There are many like it, but this one is MINE. My pen tool is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My pen tool without me is useless. Without my pen tool, I am useless.

                there is no grey area when it comes to 1 color logos.

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                • #23
                  I still can't believe that he printed the low res art work. He didn't even get the good stuff... :rollseyes:
                  Professional Pixel Pusher Designing the world around you. | Working daily to reach 10,000 hours of practice.

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                  • #24
                    The client signed and returned the contract within an hour. Hurray! Incidentally, I discovered an excellent how-to for adding a digital signature to PDF documents:

                    http://www.pdfforlawyers.com/digital_signatures/

                    Thanks for everyone's suggestions!

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                    • #25
                      It's a funny situation but I'm glad it worked out ok for you.
                      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

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                      • #26
                        I'm glad that worked out. Cool!

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                        • #27
                          It's his loss for two reasons:

                          1) He paid you in full without both of you signing a contract giving him rights to the image. Therefore, you still own the copyright on the image and may do whatever you want with it, including making your own stickers. I'm sure you still have the raw layered files, and can therefore prove that the image is yours. "If it ain't on paper, it ain't so", my dad used to say.

                          2) He probably grabbed the image off your website, which couldn't have been more than screen resolution. It might not look too bad on the merch, but he could have had access to the raw (high-res/vector) artwork for better results.

                          Take the money and run!

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