ILLINOIS - GRAPHIC DESIGN/ADS - INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY - COPYRIGHT Forgive me for this being wordy, but I wanted to provide as much detail as possible.....For 8 years I worked for a 120+ page magazine as a W-2 employee. I solely created the layout, ads, etc. In 2009, I began to work for myself after a major falling out with the owner. I should have NEVER went back after the hell they put me through, but I had just had a baby and needed the money. This company begged me to work from home 3 months later after firing the freelancer.
I agreed to a monthly set price. We never had a contract
. The magazine needed a new layout/size, all new ads, new website. I invoiced them separately (bare-bones $) for ad creation (We're 'poor' blah blah...Hey it's not my fault she didn't charge her clients at all for the ad creation!) I charged $10 for a 1/6 ad, $25 for full page ad...VERY CHEAP CREATION FEES...But I was paid an OK amount ($2300) for the layout each month, not to mention all the time spent sending to the printers, combining pdfs for Scribd, computer troubleshooting, website maintenance and all the other side-stuff I did.
It was continuous job security for me to keep them as a client. So charging beans for ad creation seemed plausible at the time. The owner of the magazine contacted me last month and said she wanted copies of all my working Quark files. When I asked her why she wanted them, she told me it was because she had access to InDesign and wanted to convert the files so she could try to help me build the magazine each month.
Something wasn't right! I figured she found somebody cheaper, which is FINE, but told her I retained the ownership of the ads. She became very heated and claimed she owned every aspect of what I created for her magazine because she paid me each month. I told her the new person needed to start from scratch and make their own ads or the owner could either continue paying a usage fee for the existing ads I created or she could buy the entire working archive for a set price. She declined both offers.
I relinquished everything they actually owned. All working files, ads, graphics, etc. PRIOR to 2009. PLUS I gave her the most recent Quark files (out of kindness) that of course retained the layout template, author headers, branding/logos that always belonged to her, etc. and a few ads that existed within the pages prior to 2009. A few times in the various folders, I included an ATTENTION note & contact info that read, "IF THERE COMES A TIME YOU SHOULD NEED AN AD THAT HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN PLACED IN THIS MAGAZINE, CALL ME. IT MAY BE CHEAPER TO PAY A USAGE FEE RATHER THAN A RECREATION FEE."
I just picked up a copy of the most recent issue of the magazine. The new person took the pdfs from last month & used every single one of my ads. She has now listed herself on the masthead of the magazine as the 'ad creator'. I decided to call her to teach her about graphic design creed. She said she works from home for herself, yet considers the magazine owner her boss. This new person told me she will continue to do what 'her boss' tells her to do because she won't get paid for her time to recreate all the ads. I guess she means she will be staking claim to all my years of work.
Before hanging up, I told her it would be a good idea to educate herself about this stuff. I need some legal advice in Illinois here...(Besides telling me I should have had a contract...LESSON LEARNED THERE) There are so many years of garbage to discuss. I'm an idiot for sacrificing so much for that company out the sake of pure convenience. I want to be paid for my intentionally stolen work. The company makes a lot money & is continuing to make money off the ads I created by charging the clients their ad insertion fees. Plus the new person is taking complete notoriety for my work. I know I have a case right? WHAT A NIGHTMARE. :( Please point me to the light...