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I designed a poetry site for a friend and he asked me to put one of my poems on there which I did. I decorated his pages with my landscape photos which were not part of our original bargain--he only paid for basic design of the site and 5 pages of text. The logos and none of the images were included in the price and I never sold him rights to use my images.
When I asked to get paid for any further work on the site he fired me and told me to remove my presence from the site--which I did-- and I took my poetry and all my images with me and webmaster links, etc off the site. I let him keep the logo even though he never paid for it.
Several days later he had the site restored via the web host and is now refusing to remove my images or my poetry or personal photograph of myself and is claiming I'm still the web designer of his site. He even removed the guestbook because my friends were posting in there trying to get him to remove my images.
Please indicate what recourse I have to this problem. I have tried reasoning with him to no avail and I can't afford a lawyer and he has a lawyer at this beck and call.
I'm not sure if I can post the url of the site in question but I will if it's ok to do so.
Dig through for any correspondence or whatever else documents your rights, and let them know you have it and intend to pursue for recourse.
I've had that happen; the person who took my copyright off and put their own name on, when asked to remove it responded "Make me!" Contacting the new webmaster/host saying it was documented and promising litigation holding them responsible as well got it remedied (almost, around 90%) within a day or two.
>Go check the Terms of Service for his hosting company. Most hosting companies when presented with copyright violations (with some proof) will take the content down.
I contacted them right away because it's my hosting company also and I have several clients hosted on that company. At first they told me if I had proof the images were mine (and I have the originals) that they may intervene.
But after talking to this bully's lawyer then they told me they didn't want to get into the dispute that I had better get a lawyer and handle it myself.
But thanks for the suggestion of checking the Terms of Service. I hadn't considered that.
>Also let the web designer as well as site owner and know that you retain intellectual property rights to your original works.
I am the web designer and the person in question is the site owner and I told him I never sold him rights to my images right after I took them off his web site and again when he had the webhost restore them.
>Dig through for any correspondence or whatever else documents your rights, and let them know you have it and intend to pursue for recourse.
We never discussed my selling him the rights to use my images and graphics because we were friends and I did it out of friendship. He even is holding my poetry hostage now--as well as the link claiming I'm still the web designer. He refuses to remove any of it.
I provided the images and graphics I designed at his specifications in good faith, assuming this would be a long term working relationship, but he never said he intended me to work for free after the basic site was finished. This was when the trouble started. When I asked to be paid for my extra work beyond our agreement then he fired me and told me to "remove your presence from my website." Not even any discussion. Just "get out." Being as part of my "presence" was my images I took them with me. And he has since had the hosting company restore them.
Thanks for your tips,
They have already taken actions to 'publish material in violation of the copyright' by restoring the site from a backup.
Tell the hosting company that their failure to take down the copyright violation makes them a 'contributory or vicarious copyright infringer under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act'. Refer them to When Is an ISP Liable for the Acts of Its Subscribers? [nolo.com] at Nolo.
You can also threaten to take the hosting of your and your other clients somewhere else.
>Tell the hosting company that their failure to take down the copyright violation makes them a 'contributory or vicarious copyright infringer under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act'. Refer them to When Is an ISP Liable for the Acts of Its Subscribers? at Nolo.
thanks. I wasn't aware of this law. I just sent them a link to the article and suggested they might want to look into this matter further. This company has been a very good company so far so I hope they will do the honorable thing. I have provided them with several web clients over the last few years so maybe that will help my case.
>You can also threaten to take the hosting of your and your other clients somewhere else.
If they don't I just might do that.
>Start sending him bills to establish the cost of his use of your intellectual property. People tend to view the world from a different perspective once the meter starts running.
That's a good idea except he just sent me a letter telling me to not contact him any more or it will be considered harrasement.
Send the invoice. Make sure to date it back to day the host put your content back up. He does not have to contact you, just mail the check.
Up the prices (order of magitude). You are unbunding your ongoing services from the images/content. Thus the individual prices are much higher.
You need to get his attention on terms he understands. Also monetary damages (unpaid invoice) may allow you to take him to small claims court without a lawyer.
I have to wonder, IMO:
Why not just hire a lawyer and sue the person for copyright
infringement -- $150,000 per item infringed should rack the
case up to seven figures. The key: hire a lawyer with a
90% contingency fee with them paying all cost IF and ONLY IF
they refuse to settle, but instead press the case to a judgement.
The lawyer would grind them into dust. When they beg for
your mercy, just give them photocopies of their terse
communications back to them via certified mail as your answer.
This should financially destroy the jerk. There are all
too many occurances of this kind of stuff. These jerks
need to have some fear instilled into them to keep them
from infringing people.
Maybe a few cases like this are what's needed.