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Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Who does the site say owns the copyright, YOU or THEM? If it says YOU own the copyright, then they would need to pay you for releasing the copyright to them. However, if you never actually filed a copyright your grounds are limited. If it says THEM, I would hand it over quietly. Besides, they could just as easily copy the content without the password (unless it's database driven) and since they paid for it, and own the domain name, probably nothing to stop them as all signs point to their ownership based on your description.
Sounds like a consult with an attorney might be in order here, but I don't think it would go very far.
I'd leave the doors open on good terms and not burn bridges at this point.
Perhaps the new person doesn't work out or they need other work in the future.
Chalk it up to ALWAYS GET A CONTRACT.
Do NOT play games with their password access or anything. Be very gracious. Forget about them being millionaires. Be gracious and hope that your professionalism leads to other business. Remember, they did you a service as much as you did them one - you are a hotter commodity because you were working for a top band.
Think of it this way: If Microsoft hires a carpenter to fix some picnic benches on the campus, that carpenter has no moral claim on kill fee if Microsoft, within the terms of its agreement, decides not to continue using his services after a few benches were repaired. Forget about Bill Gates and his billions.
Now, on the other hand, it can't hurt to ask for a kill fee, life-time concert tickets, whatever you think is reasonable - as long as you have turned over everything or previously stated your intention to turn over everything and there's no implied blackmail. But if you don't get one, no sour grapes. They don't owe you one morally or legally. I personally think they would be crazy to pay you one.
BusinessWeek has an old story on this at:
BUT, personally, I agree with the others. I would keep the parting very professional and use the prior relationship as a stepping stone to bigger and better things for your company. If you start holding back passwords to a client's site, you are going to get a horrible reputation in the industry in a hurry.
If the band is successful - and has the $bucks$ - you can be sure they will own everything in the end anyway, and you will be spending money in attorney's fees, and wasting time on something that is best to walk away from.
You got what you deserved. You got paid! If you had done it for free when they had no money, it's a different story. Even then, it would be up to them to step up to the plate.
True, it is disheartening - but don't let it turn personal.
I have been paid regularly with no problems as a conditional employee and have paid taxes on all my earnings. What does everyone think? What should I do?
Why do you think you "deserve" a kill fee?
ONLY because they are significantly richer than you? If they had only been marginally richer - OR you did not know how much money they had at all would you be demanding a $10,000 "kill fee"? What if they had been a charity?
A note on Bill Gates ... he does not actually have access to billions of dollars..he can't personally touch the $50 billion+ cash war chest that Microsoft has accrued...he can't do cash withdrawls against his business assets...if he has credit problems...he will be denied credit just like anyone else...He is worth what his ownership share of his company is valued at (and typcially this is a highly inflated valuation anyways)...
They haven't even responded to this.
seems a bit fishy to me. I think everyone that got riled up gave someone a good laugh.
trust me.. I am a professional troll elsewhere..
I thought it was a very good question. I personally have been given a contracted job from a webmaster would didn't have a contract. And let me tell you, it's been a nightmare. The guy has been making it very difficult. To be honest lulabelle could be him. lol
I think you should surrender the passwords right away and not hold the site hostage. However if you think you deserve something more for your work I don't think their is anything wrong with asking them for a nice letter of reference and the right to put part of the site in your portfolio along with the letter.
You may not get the cash you want, but you will get some of the glory and that will of course lead to many more jobs in the future.
The fact that they are millionaires is the #1 reason to graciously cut your losses. You cant win, even if your right, without significant cost that you probably will never recoup. If you have a work for hire agreement, remind them. If not, lesson learned.
Be professional, part as friends if possible, get some tickets, monitor your replacement's success and leave the door open for future business.
In the absence of evidence otherwise it probably means you own the rights to your work.
As they control the domain they can change the site design and you will have no case.
A note on Bill Gates ... he does not actually have access to billions of dollars..he can't personally touch the $50 billion+ cash war chest that Microsoft has accrued...he can't do cash withdrawls against his business assets...if he has credit problems...he will be denied credit just like anyone else...
Gate has access to billions of dollars and can convert shares he owns in MS and other companies to cash. He can also borrow against his business assets should he wish.
You are going to lose accounts here and there, it happens no matter what you do, try to learn from it, be gracious and move on.
I have had a few come back when they find out the grass wasn't as green on the other side as they thought it was.
tell that the Bank of America who loaned Ebbers hundreds of millions. There's a limit to everything, and Bill will have absolutely no problem but after a certain amount he has to secure it. If MSFT shares start tanking they will want more colleteral