Clients who refuse to pay for photographer’s work horrified after he take legal action for copyright infringement

Gillian Sisley

A battle over payment between a commercial photographer and a client has ended in the photographer’s victory, as detailed in a Reddit post.

*This is a work of non-fiction sourced from social media discussion boards and verified experts/specialists.*

Upon delivering two dozen images of models with their products to a client, the author, a photographer, initially requested a third of the payment upfront. The author explains:

“Most of my clients were great, but a few liked to drag payment out or think they could just not pay me because they were a big company and I was just one guy. I had one assignment where I delivered about two dozen images of models with their products. At every step of the way, they expressed their delight with all of the images I delivered. They’d paid me 1/3 up front and after delivering the images, I billed them for the balance. And I waited and waited and waited. Nothing. Every time I called, I got some excuse until they just stopped answering my calls. Then it happened. They published the images, and in ways that went beyond what our licensing agreement had covered.”

The photographer contacted their lawyer and sent the client an infringement letter, as he continues:

“One thing I did when setting up my business is establish a good relationship with a lawyer. It helps that my cousin is a lawyer with good friends. So I call my lawyer and detail everything that’s gone down. He sends them a letter letting them know we intend to sue for infringement, since the images were never licensed, and that the penalty is like $150k per image and blocking their use of the images altogether. I know they got the letter because they called me freaking out. Offering excuses like, “We were in the process of paying you”. It’s been 3 months past the due date.”

All About Photo suggests that negotiating payment and the use of photographs from commercial photography can be a difficult process, and the client in this instance used the images beyond the agreed terms. After multiple failed attempts to gather payment, a photographer will have to resort to legal action to secure their rightfully earned wage, as detailed by Wild Romantic Photography.

Despite the clients’ complaints, the author stood his ground:

“They accused me of poisoning our working relationship. If you wanted a good relationship, you would have stuck by our original agreement and paid me. I ended the call by telling them they needed to deal with my lawyer. They must have consulted with their own lawyer who evidently told them just how screwed they’d be if they went to court over this. In the end, I settled for less than what I asked for in the initial demand, but it was far more than if they’d just paid me and negotiated for the additional usage.”

What do you think?

Was the author completely within his right to go to legal action after the terms of the contract were violated, and the author didn’t receive payment?

Or should he indeed have made more of an effort to receive the payment, and he acted a little too quickly by turning to legal action so fast?

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