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It is about copyright law. We are a publisher's (and

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It is about copyright...

It is about copyright law. We are a publisher's (and authors) pre-press service. That means they come to us with a manuscript, usually not finalized, and we design it, layout the book, and produce print files, or electronic versions for them. Sometimes they don't pay. We have been told by the leading freelance service Upwork, that rights on our design services and content transfer to them after payment. Sometimes they don't pay. To sue someone over small amounts, usually under $150 is ridiculous and no one wins. But, we've been told we can file the copyright, with a document (our invoice and mechanic's lien) and we own the rights until they pay all costs. We would like to verify this.

Lawyer's Assistant: Do you have a registration record?

The book has never been copyrighted, there is no registration at the copyright office. \I have checked this.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?

I give them 3 days to pay. And, take action after 90 days of no payment with a minimum of 4 reminders to pay.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Local attorney? We are in Mexico. They are in the US and they hide their address and do not respond emails ... we have no phone number.

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
12/6/2017
Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 4 months ago
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 103,491
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.

It is not quite that simple. In essence, you are saying that you are creating the final product for them. Unless your contract states otherwise, it is presumed that they own the copyright to the finished product.

There is no such thing as mechanic's lien for a copyright property.

Ergo, what someone in your situation wants to do to ensure payment (without possibly having to resort to suing in small claims for breach of contract) is to include in the original contract that the company owns the copyright/intellectual property to the creation until/unless to such time that the customer pays the balance. If/when that occurs, the company will provide the customer with a transfer of the copyright/intellectual property.

Ergo, if they do not pay, then they cannot "publish," since you own the copyright/intellectual property and have not provided the transfer to them (because they have not paid).

"I STRIVE FOR FIVE!" My goal is to answer your question to your satisfaction. Please rate with five stars (★★★★★) and click SEND. It does not cost anything extra to rate. You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars. Rating my answer the bottom two stars or failing to submit the rating reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. If you are not satisfied for whatever reason, or, have follow up questions, please simply reply with SEND before or after rating and let's continue to chat until you are satisfied. This is what I am here for.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
This is not what freelance services say. They say "Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, etc" that rights do not transfer until the work is paid for and that no one has the right to rights until payment has been made and cleared. What you are saying is that people in the US can Trump us and steal our hard earned money.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
since I did the original files and have them on my computer, and since no copyright is filed by them - I can file a copyright on the work we did. There is never a contract on work like this - it's always under $200 for our work.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I don't like being Trumped by scumbags in the US who have decided that Trump's no payment policy and keeping ownership is the new american standard and honor, and integrity are lost ...
Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 4 months ago

No, that is not quite correct. There is no automatic "transfer of intellectual property rights" when payment is made - that would be very hard to keep track of, especially if payment cannot be proven.

As such, intellectual property rights are transferred via contract just to be sure. Normally, the contractor does not GIVE the final product to the buyer until the buyer pays.

If you DO give the final product to the buyer before they finish paying, this is why you want to have that clause about holding on to property rights until they finish paying.

It does not matter if it is for $2 or $20,000 - the answer is the same.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

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