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Pay me, dammit!

sneakysneaky Posts: 354Registered Users @ @
My spidey senses failed me this time and I ended up doing a job for these wannabe big businessmen, all talk. Long story short, I'm $500 out of pocket and I'm particularly peeved due to the lack of gracefulness of these guys.

I know what I should do and all but I want to give them a good stinging. The job was a small update to an existing app, can I claim copyright over the code I added and request the app to be removed from the App Store by any chance?

Any other suggestions? :mad:
Post edited by sneaky on

Replies

  • Meredi86Meredi86 Posts: 1,108Registered Users
    edited June 2011
    maybe you could but there are affecting factors.

    1, Country Laws, Different in each country so what may be applicable to me here in the UK isnt to John Smith in the USA.

    2, can you prove beyond a doubt that the code is yours - you wrote it, you thought of it, you implemented it. Did you leave a copywrite notice on the file? (i.e. commented section xcode always places at the top)

    3, do you think this is the best course of action? Im not sure about the USA but the UK has a small claims court for things like this ($500 may be a little low though im not sure on the tolerances) And the app may also get removed if you won that case.

    Its a tricky one really, i would have thought that if you get anywhere Apple would only remove the update - depends maybe on who you get. And i doubt you would get your pay packet. but taking it a little more legal could get you your cash and the app removed.

    This is one of the cases where the american sueing nature is OK, you deserve that money as you did the work. But i couldnt even guess on the legal costs that it would incur to you. Get in touch with a lawyer if i was you - surely you can get some free legal advice on this.
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  • sneakysneaky Posts: 354Registered Users @ @
    edited June 2011
    We're in 2 different countries in the EU so I think judge Judy is out.

    So I'm not really prepared to go to a solicitor and have them file a small claims suit in another country. It will cost more than it's worth. Sure, I want my money but I'm down X hours already, I don't want it to cost me any more.

    I'm not completely sure that they won't pay me, it's just the obvious lies and lack of grace about the whole thing that makes me want to *think outside the box*
  • Renaissance77Renaissance77 Posts: 132Registered Users @ @
    edited June 2011
    Bummer. It sucks when this sort of thing happens, but you'd have to ask yourself how much effort its worth going to, to recover $500.

    Out of interest, did you give them the source code before you got paid? (something I advise never to do when doing contract development, no matter how smooth talking they are)

    Or did they do something tricky like resign an ad-hoc build?
  • sneakysneaky Posts: 354Registered Users @ @
    edited June 2011
    I didn't think about it at the time, I just handed over the source code.

    I normally work with a couple of companies I've good relationships with and payment has never been an issue so I've simply let my guard down. I've myself to blame on that one.
  • baja_yubaja_yu Posts: 6,188Moderators, Registered Users Admin
    edited June 2011
  • BrianSlickBrianSlick Treadmill Desk Ninja Northern Virginia / DCPosts: 10,315Tutorial Authors, Registered Users @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
    edited June 2011
  • sneakysneaky Posts: 354Registered Users @ @
    edited June 2011
    Yea, so no contract or anything :(

    As I said, to date I've been lucky enough to never have had any problems. I simply can't believe that there is nothing I can do! Something like having the app taken off the app store would be great but that doesn't seem like a go either :(
  • dany_devdany_dev Posts: 4,696Tutorial Authors, Registered Users @ @ @ @ @
    edited June 2011
    Bummer. It sucks when this sort of thing happens, but you'd have to ask yourself how much effort its worth going to, to recover $500.

    Out of interest, did you give them the source code before you got paid? (something I advise never to do when doing contract development, no matter how smooth talking they are)

    Or did they do something tricky like resign an ad-hoc build?

    the problem is all here.

    As freelancer, you should never deliver sourcecode.....only if client is ready to pay you 2x-5x what you would ask w\o sourcecode...

    Really, many people think that when they work as freelancer, they must deliver source code. NO! if client want the sources, they must pay AND MUCH. You are a freelancer, not an employee....

    moreover retaining source, avoid completely these type of things....(you suppose that they wont pay you if they haven't any type of control over their app?)

    If your client don't want accept, present 2 bills, 1 with sources, 1 without sources. If they still doesn't accept, don't work for him, when he will search for other devs, and will see that is a common thing, will return to you....

    a good read Tons of Changes | Cocoanetics

    and of course, never, never, never deliver sources before payment.....And if possibile use mileston (30% beta, 30% completed, 40% on appstore)
  • bignogginsbignoggins Posts: 2,198Registered Users @ @ @ @
    edited June 2011
    The lack of a contract is much more troubling than delivering source code. If there was no signed contract you have no options.

    ALWAYS sign a contract and ALWAYS get paid 50% up front. No exceptions.
    dany_dev wrote: »
    the problem is all here.

    As freelancer, you should never deliver sourcecode.....only if client is ready to pay you 2x-5x what you would ask w\o sourcecode...

    Really, many people think that when they work as freelancer, they must deliver source code. NO! if client want the sources, they must pay AND MUCH. You are a freelancer, not an employee....

    moreover retaining source, avoid completely these type of things....(you suppose that they wont pay you if they haven't any type of control over their app?)

    If your client don't want accept, present 2 bills, 1 with sources, 1 without sources. If they still doesn't accept, don't work for him, when he will search for other devs, and will see that is a common thing, will return to you....

    a good read Tons of Changes | Cocoanetics

    and of course, never, never, never deliver sources before payment.....And if possibile use mileston (30% beta, 30% completed, 40% on appstore)
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]<br />
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  • JunglebookJunglebook Posts: 20Registered Users
    edited June 2011
    A verbal agreement should be binding in court if there is no written contract and you can prove you wrote the code. You did the job, and you did not get paid. Simple!
  • bignogginsbignoggins Posts: 2,198Registered Users @ @ @ @
    edited June 2011
    Junglebook wrote: »
    A verbal agreement should be binding in court if there is no written contract and you can prove you wrote the code. You did the job, and you did not get paid. Simple!

    verbal contract is difficult to prove. Your word against theirs.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]<br />
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  • Renaissance77Renaissance77 Posts: 132Registered Users @ @
    edited June 2011
    dany_dev wrote: »
    the problem is all here.

    As freelancer, you should never deliver sourcecode.....only if client is ready to pay you 2x-5x what you would ask w\o sourcecode...

    I don't know what sort of clients you work for, but that kind of attitude would never fly in the world of professional software development.

    When your clients are paying you upwards of $75 per hour, they damn well expect source code. To not deliver it is, IMO, highly unprofessional and suggests you don't really know what you're doing or that you've got something to hide.

    Of course, that's not to say you should get into the habit of giving new/unknown clients source code before you've been paid.
  • sneakysneaky Posts: 354Registered Users @ @
    edited June 2011
    I think I've learned the contract lesson. I have to find a contract that I can use.

    In this particular case though, I don't consider it worth it to go to court.

    This was not a complete app or anything, it was just a pretty small update to an existing app.

    There are a couple of things being debated here at the moment.
    * the moral aspect, I did the work therefore I should get paid. I don't think anyone disagrees here.
    * the legal aspect - I should have had a contract. and without I'm pretty much screwed. I think we've reached a consensus here too...

    My remaining question, and I'm quite passive aggressive, is how I can get even just a small bit?
  • dany_devdany_dev Posts: 4,696Tutorial Authors, Registered Users @ @ @ @ @
    edited June 2011
    mightybao wrote: »
    The lack of a contract is much more troubling than delivering source code. If there was no signed contract you have no options.

    ALWAYS sign a contract and ALWAYS get paid 50% up front. No exceptions.

    a contract is helpful but don't solve nothing....if you are in different country will be a pain on the back asking for payment if client don't really want (and assuming you already delivered the sourcode), so I repeat, always keep control of the sources, deliver only after payment and price it high, because deliver source must be not the normal behiavour...
    I don't know what sort of clients you work for, but that kind of attitude would never fly in the world of professional software development.

    I totally disagree.....there are a lot of freelancer that work exactly in this mode...
    When your clients are paying you upwards of $75 per hour, they damn well expect source code. To not deliver it is, IMO, highly unprofessional and suggests you don't really know what you're doing or that you've got something to hide.

    I agree 75$\hour sound as a reasonable rate for deliver sources.
    Of course, that's not to say you should get into the habit of giving new/unknown clients source code before you've been paid.

    I agree partially, never deliver sources before payment.....also if the client is old/known.
  • KarlJayKarlJay Posts: 365Registered Users @ @
    edited June 2011
    One other option is to go ahead and release the app yourself.
    If you didn't get paid and didn't sign a NDA (non-disclosure) then make the app with some changes, send them a link to the app screen and see what they say!

    I had this happen with one client that didn't pay 1 cent, they had the guts to send me a letter saying that I had no rights to the program I wrote from scratch. The de-compiled the program and went forward without me, hired a new programmer and bounced checks to him, they went out of business.

    I've had this kinda thing happen with strong contracts, a few notes about the law, it's usually worthless. I've been to court more than once and if you hire someone it's run you broke and you may never recover anything.

    You'll be MUCH better off with a strong contract and PROGRESS PAYMENTS! Define stages of development and get paid at each of these stages otherwise, STOP working for them and advise them that you have other projects that you're working on and will pickup their project AFTER they pay.

    They don't pay... you move on with a small loss...

    Hint: always be prepared to move on to the next project, make it so they need you more than you need them, limit your exposure to any project by defining stages and getting paid for each stage.
    If you're going to get burned, make the burn spot small, it'll hurt less...
  • jptexasjptexas Posts: 318Registered Users
    edited June 2011
    mightybao wrote: »
    The lack of a contract is much more troubling than delivering source code. If there was no signed contract you have no options.

    ALWAYS sign a contract and ALWAYS get paid 50% up front. No exceptions.

    Actually, it might help not to have a contract in this case. Not sure of different countries laws, but in the US, unless a contract specifies the transfer of ownership, the developer owns the copyrights on the code he wrote.

    Verbal contracts are as valid as written contracts in the US, but almost impossible to prove.

    However, again with US law, if they take your code and use it, the implied contract is sufficient to win the case in court.

    Signed contracts are overrated, they just help prove your case in court, but since you won't go in court 99% of the time for unpaid bills type of issues....

    The best protections to ensure payments on contracts for us developers:
    - first payment up front (ensure you get some money out of the project)
    - Milestones payments (minimize potential unpaid bills)
    - Source code delivered when fully paid (incentive for customer to pay)
  • baja_yubaja_yu Posts: 6,188Moderators, Registered Users Admin
    edited June 2011
    jptexas wrote: »
    Signed contracts are overrated...

    I beg to differ. Just because they aren't a foolproof doesn't mean you should disregard it. Wether or not you go to court, it gives you very strong leverage to use to persuade the other side to fullfil their side of the agreement. Your lawyer can contact them and send a "threatening" letter and all that. A written contract makes it very easy to prove your case in court, which if they lose end up paying not only your fee, but court fees, their lawyer fees and your lawyer fees.
  • jptexasjptexas Posts: 318Registered Users
    edited June 2011
    baja_yu wrote: »
    I beg to differ. Just because they aren't a foolproof doesn't mean you should disregard it. Wether or not you go to court, it gives you very strong leverage to use to persuade the other side to fullfil their side of the agreement. Your lawyer can contact them and send a "threatening" letter and all that. A written contract makes it very easy to prove your case in court, which if they lose end up paying not only your fee, but court fees, their lawyer fees and your lawyer fees.

    Don't get me wrong, I dont advise against written contract. But to think that you're all protected because of a written contract, or out of luck because of lack of such piece of paper is just... 'wrong' for lack of a better word.

    When it comes to leverage to get payment, I really think that delivering source code upon final payment is a much much better 'protection' than defining on a piece of paper that you should get paid for your work (which is legally true, whether or not written on a piece of paper)
  • bignogginsbignoggins Posts: 2,198Registered Users @ @ @ @
    edited June 2011
    Witholding source code until payment sounds like a great idea. They can get the ad-hoc binaries but without the source they can't release anything themselves. So they see that you have made progress but they can't outright steal your work without payment.
    jptexas wrote: »
    Don't get me wrong, I dont advise against written contract. But to think that you're all protected because of a written contract, or out of luck because of lack of such piece of paper is just... 'wrong' for lack of a better word.

    When it comes to leverage to get payment, I really think that delivering source code upon final payment is a much much better 'protection' than defining on a piece of paper that you should get paid for your work (which is legally true, whether or not written on a piece of paper)
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]<br />
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  • dany_devdany_dev Posts: 4,696Tutorial Authors, Registered Users @ @ @ @ @
    edited June 2011
    jptexas wrote: »
    Actually, it might help not to have a contract in this case. Not sure of different countries laws, but in the US, unless a contract specifies the transfer of ownership, the developer owns the copyrights on the code he wrote.

    Verbal contracts are as valid as written contracts in the US, but almost impossible to prove.

    However, again with US law, if they take your code and use it, the implied contract is sufficient to win the case in court.

    Signed contracts are overrated, they just help prove your case in court, but since you won't go in court 99% of the time for unpaid bills type of issues....

    The best protections to ensure payments on contracts for us developers:
    - first payment up front (ensure you get some money out of the project)
    - Milestones payments (minimize potential unpaid bills)
    - Source code delivered when fully paid (incentive for customer to pay)

    I agree completely with your post and was exactly what i tried to say before.....(ownership, mileston, sourcecode after payment).

    However i want to post another link on the argument: How to deal with contracting customers who won't pay | Cocoanetics

    other than that http://www.cocoanetics.com/2011/05/tons-of-changes/ that is an must-read

    sneaky is in this case.
    Look over the contract. If there wasn’t one, or it wasn’t good enough, never make that mistake again. (iradel)
    Have you already delivered the source code? If yes, there isn’t much you can do. Maybe warn other developers about the scammer. (asandroq)
    If there is a contract about the payment: talk to your lawyer , if not here is your lesson for today. (thkl)
  • TunaNuggetTunaNugget Posts: 1,112Registered Users @ @ @ @
    edited March 2012
    At least in the US, if you _don't_ have a contract, the copyright is yours. Not worth a court case, but worth a takedown request to Apple.
  • HerculeHercule Posts: 80Registered Users
    edited March 2012
    dany_dev wrote: »
    the problem is all here.

    As freelancer, you should never deliver sourcecode.....only if client is ready to pay you 2x-5x what you would ask w\o sourcecode...

    Really, many people think that when they work as freelancer, they must deliver source code. NO! if client want the sources, they must pay AND MUCH. You are a freelancer, not an employee....

    moreover retaining source, avoid completely these type of things....(you suppose that they wont pay you if they haven't any type of control over their app?)

    If your client don't want accept, present 2 bills, 1 with sources, 1 without sources. If they still doesn't accept, don't work for him, when he will search for other devs, and will see that is a common thing, will return to you....

    a good read Tons of Changes | Cocoanetics

    and of course, never, never, never deliver sources before payment.....And if possibile use mileston (30% beta, 30% completed, 40% on appstore)

    I don't see why client has to pay more? more of how much ??
    If the price is good, I saw no reason not giving the client, the source code. Unless you want to take in hostage to ask him more than the value of your work...

    But of course, don't give your source code until you get paid.
    It's really hard to get bad client pay you, even in the same country with a contract...

    When in the past I made some websites for clients, I kept all password and login until I get all payments...
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