Hello - I offered the owners of guest cabins where I had stayed in Taos, NM a deal to re-paint their fading exterior sign in exchange for future lodging (I live in Denver, CO) One of their employees contacted me to redesign the logo
first, for a fresh look. I did an original illustration that was separate from, and the centerpiece of, the logo and business card I re-designed. After sending it to them for input, my contact person there was let go, and the owners refuse to answer any of my attempts to contact them over the past six weeks. I was ripped off.
Although I know I have no claim to their name on the logo, every other concept and all artwork were 100% mine.
I want to know if, for purposes of my obtaining a copyright
in my name, what I did was consider "work for hire". There was a 'go-ahead' given by them to my suggestions, but I was not an employee.
And, if I can't obtain a copyright, what recourse do I have? My artwork was stolen, and is being used. They have printed business cards and use the artwork for ads, yet have cut off all communication, so I cannot collect on the agreement of lodging.
I have the originals and all email communication to back my story. I do not have a lot of money to fight this, and that's what they're counting on.
What can I do?