I am a commercial photographer and have been for more than 20 years. I also taught photography courses at the college level for 8 years including the business of photography, using John Harrington’s book as a textbook.
I recently began using your fotobiz software. The text below may be a good template should photographers have non-paying clients using their work.
My agreements clearly indicate the usage license isn’t valid until I’ve been paid in full and also clearly indicates when payment is expected.
Recently, a video I created at a client’s request was being used on their website but they hadn’t paid the invoice in accordance with our agreement.
I emailed. No response. I called. No Response. I called the owner on his cell phone. No response.
I had transmitted the video to the company website designer and had his contact information.
With no other options due to no client response, I emailed a ‘cease and desist notice’ to the company owner, the sales director (both timely communicated during the project), the company office manager, and the website designer.
The web designer called within minutes. He immediately took down the video.
The office manager called within 2 hours. She paid the invoice online the following morning.
The argument could be made you don’t want to make a client mad.
My position: I timely performed every aspect of the terms of our agreement. The only aspect the client needed to perform, pay the invoice according to our agreement, or timely provide a specific date payment would arrive at my door.
As you know having good agreements in place is paramount.
When you have done that and it still doesn’t work, a ‘cease and desist notice’ for a copyright violation will simply get you paid, quickly.
I will add there is a ‘litigation hold notice’ printed at the bottom of the ‘cease and desist notice’.
A ‘litigation hold notice’ allows for a separate cause of action with significant monetary fees should the recipient destroy communications or documents related to the cause of action.
When anyone with legal training sees a ‘litigation hold notice’ they go into panic mode informing everyone to not destroy any documents.
More importantly, they will timely work to resolve the issue.
I am not claiming to be an attorney, I am not. However, I have had significant conversations on the issue with attorneys.
As always, the disclaimer: everyone should always consult an attorney on legal matters.
The above gets attention and will get you paid.
Here is the notice:
SENT: E-mail, USPS Certified Mail and First Class USPS Mail
CITY, ST, ZIP
CEASE AND DESIST NOTICE
Please allow this NOTICE to serve a demand to immediately CEASE AND DESIST all unauthorized use of copyrighted works (video) I created of the XXXXXX on STREET ADDRESS in CITY, STATE.
This notice is, unfortunately, necessary because xxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxx has not performed to the agreed-upon terms of our agreement, specifically not timely paid our invoice despite several verbal and/or written requests.
All use of copyrighted works (video) by xxxxxxx and (the web designer), or anyone else, without a valid use license is a violation of the federal copyright law which provides penalties for up to $150,000.00 per violation (each video clip), plus costs and fees.
This matter will be forwarded to my copyright attorney for dealing with the existing – to date – unauthorized use of the same.
Litigation Hold Notice: The notice should be construed broadly to preserve all records, including electronic materials that may be relevant to any legal proceedings that relate in any way to this notice, (NAME OF PHOTOGRAPHER HERE) or his agents or assigns. You must not destroy documents relating in any way to the creation and operation of page and photographs or video that you are using related to this matter.
ABOUT the Author: Mark Davis has twenty-three years of experience as a published professional specializing in commercial and industrial visual imaging working with many national brands. A former adjunct college photography instructor, Mark’s career began as a staff photojournalist with an award-winning daily newspaper. Currently, Mark specializes in the ability to quality create visual images, often working in dirty and difficult lighting locations, without impacting company production.
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