Blatant use of design without paying

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
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shandmedia
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Blatant use of design without paying

Post by shandmedia » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:18 am

Hi,

I run a small design agency. I was approached by a representative of London Football Exchange to come up with some ideas for Brand ID.
I offered to come up with some concepts 'on spec' on the agreement that they'd pay if they decided to use the designs.
They have ignored my invoice and initially were using my design on a holding page for their site - this has now changed.
I'd pretty much written off trying to get my money (Around £1100) but I just received these images of a launch event in the Philippines where they've used my designs on a range of merchandise including TShirts and Mugs.
I had a copyright breach around 15 years ago that I was forced to abandon due to legal costs.
So I'm now wondering, where do I stand and is it worth pursuing this legally?

Many thanks in advance,

Neil

Images

https://www.dropbox.com/s/btitzz60gcmv4 ... 2.JPG?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5smi8mxeloh93 ... 4.JPG?dl=0

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AndyJ
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Re: Blatant use of design without paying

Post by AndyJ » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:05 pm

Hi Neil,

Hopefully your submission was supported with written terms and proposed fees, because it would appear that by using your designs they have accepted the terms and therefore a contract exists. This makes your invoice valid and you could pursue the non-payment as a small money claim, either instead of or in addition to making a claim for copyright infringement.

And although you use the term design, of course what we are talking about here is an artistic work in which you undoubtedly own the copyright, so even if they have a valid dispute over the terms of the agreement, especially if matters were dealt with verbally, and hence a dispute over the amount invoiced, there can be no dispute over the copyright infringement. You don't mention whether, if they pay the invoice in full, you intended to assign the copyrigfht to them, but if so, until they pay in full, no assignment will be deemed to have taken place.

On that basis I would give it one more try with a follow up invoice and covering letter stating that failure to pay will leave you no option but to pursue your claim through the courts. You don't need to be specific at this stage since this is not intended as a letter before action. However you should make it clear that one of the options open to you is to pursue a claim for copyright infringement. Since £1100 is at stake it will definitely be worth following through this threat if the invoice is not settled, say within 30 days or whatever your normal terms of business state. The chances are that if you go down the copyright route through the IPEC small claims track, you will be able get additional damages due to flagrancy - that is to say they contued to use your copyright work even after it was pointed out to them that it was infringement - plus interest to cover the delay in getting payment. I suspect they will settle long before the matter actually gets to court, because they should quickly realise the weakness of their position
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

shandmedia
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Re: Blatant use of design without paying

Post by shandmedia » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:32 am

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your detailed response - I appreciate you taking the time.
There was no written terms as this was a verbal arrangement.
However, there has been no payment at all and no communication from the client.
My understanding was that until they paid in full there could be no argument re assignment and you've confirmed this for me.
Think your suggested approach makes sense so I'll try that.

Thanks

Neil

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