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contract disputes

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by WAI, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. WAI

    WAI New Member

    Hi All,

    I've ended up in a bit of a pickle due to lack of written contract (This is one mistake i hope not to repeat, ever) and any advice or solutions would be most welcome
    I started doing some 2D illustrations for a games company to be used for cutscenes,involving characters and environments.

    The agreed verbal contract was that i produce images for the cut scenes and place them together and have simple animations for "X ammount" with the condition that the work would be scheduled and workable in a 5 week time frame with no over time. as the absolute deadline was six weeks.

    So I had to produce characters and the environments for them.
    However as the weeks went by the deadline for what ever reason never arrived and the guy commissioning the work kept wanting me to focus on characters. there was no scheduling as was agreed and no cut off point.

    Anyway the work has carried on to week 8, so as the fee was for originally 5 weeks, i asked to be compensated for the additional weeks. This was rejected and the time frame of the original contract was dismissed.
    The gist of it is that the company expects my pay to remain the same for five weeks as it would if the project lasts for 20 weeks

    Does anyone know if there a valid way to dispute this as there is no written contract and it's become my word against his over the original timeframe

    Point 2 is that he offered me an out by emailing me an option to leave saying i have completed 70% of the work and will get 70% of the pay if i choose to leave now, i notified him that i'll take it. i have 50% of the pay but he refuses to hand over the 20% because he's decided to not use some of the work
    This is in writing(email)
    Again can i dispute this legally?
    Basically, he out lined what he owed me for the work he's seen, then decided he doesn't want some of it after it's done so wont pay.

    Point 3 is that he's adamant that my work is for cutscenes only but has now decided that the characters i produced should be used for promotional work, such as posters etc

    Does he have a right to do that as i was only commisioned for cutscene work, therefore the work i produced should only be used for cutscenes?
    I would appreciate it if some one has any clarity regarding this.

    Finally who has ownership of copyright over the character work.
    He assumed he has, citing he's paid me with 50% of the original pay aimed at 5 weeks work.
    I don't think he owns the copyright but how do i find out if he does or doesn't


    What a pickle huh?

    Any help is appreciated
     
  2. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    A verbal contract is not worth the paper it is written on. This is a perfect example of ensuring terms & conditions are decided and signed off at the beginning of a project.

    Whatever he has written since I don't think is legally binding, you didn't state anywhere that if he chooses not to use a % of the work created that you still expect to be paid in full, without these clauses in place and signed by him I don't think you have a leg to stand on.

    Having said that, as far as I am aware copyright stays with the designer until it has been assigned in writing, as you haven't done this and as he hasn't paid you in full that would be my arguement now...that you don't give him permission to use said artwork until you have been paid in full.

    I'm no lawyer so see if these links help...

    Designs and design rights

    Intellectual Property Advice for Creative Businesses - Own-it London
     
  3. WAI

    WAI New Member

    Thanks very much for your reply

    i guessed there i what i can do would be very limited without written back up.

    I appreciate your input

    Wai
     
  4. Wai,

    Have you tried going to the Citizen's Advice Bureau? They have vast amount's of information and may well be able to point you in the right direction?

    Good luck to you, I hate clients (scumbags) like that lol.
     

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