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Enforcing commercial rights


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From time to time, I get an order for a commercial script without the commercial rights. After a friendly reminder, most buyers accept and understand the need for this, which gets added to the order. 

But every now and then, a buyer chooses to ignore the friendly reminder. My policy has always been to deliver the voice-over anyway since they did pay for the voice – just not the rights to use it commercially. 

This leads me to a dilemma: if I notice that the buyer has re-sold or used my voice commercially without the commercial rights, what options do I have? 

Sure, I could hire a lawyer and pursue this to the fullest extent of the law (and I probably would for big projects/clients), but when the order is for just 10 or 20 bucks, it would probably be unavailing. 

How do you handle situations like this? Do you refuse to deliver and cancel the order, getting a hit to your stats? Or do you prefer to accept that some people are idiots and move on? 

If it's a seller on Fiverr doing this – would you report the individual? Does that even work in cases like this? I doubt it. 

The easiest way to solve it would be to e-mail the client who bought the "stolen" goods. They could perhaps report the seller who sold them the voice-over illegally. But then again, they might not care. 

I guess my question is: is this worth my time? The answer is probably not. But getting taken advantage of and not doing anything to give bad buyers a well-deserved "slap on the wrist" feels wrong, too. 

It's a rare occurrence, luckily, but sitting here with 40 in fever after the vaccine, doing voice-overs for people like this, gets to me, you know? 

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I feel like Beetlejuice. Say my name 3 times, and I appear. @smashradiomakes a great point. There is always the matter of who is buying, what is it for and how they are treating you in the process. I have at times allowed a regular buyer to do smaller projects without the commercial rights. It is when someone is trying to take advantage of you, that you have to go full on a**hole with them. I have on occasion, used the line, "OK, please understand that if this is used on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or such platforms, we will have to issue a copyright violation notice to the site, and request a take down." I might also be inclined to comment on their site, that the content was stolen and therefore buyers should beware. Public shaming could work. Fortunatey, it is very rare when this happens. 

The real truth is that I often build the commercial rights into my quote in the first place, so that I don't have to argue about it later. But I get that your comment was more to the buyer who just places the order, and skips the commercial rights.  

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Thanks for your thoughts, Mike! I, too, include the commercial rights in my offers. This usually happens when a buyer makes the order without contacting me first. 
I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, and I'm inclined to think that they just overlooked it when placing their order.

But I also have a notice about this in my order requirements, twice, in addition to reminding the buyers who "forget". Sometimes, the buyers will ignore the reminders, and that pisses me off.

I'll consider noticing the buyers in the future about the possibility of using a copyright violation notice.
 
I'm a bit afraid of public shaming since it probably won't lead them to understand that they should pay. It's also likely that they could take revenge by using false profiles to make orders, up your cancel rate, or leave negative reviews - or even report your profile on Fiverr. 

So even though it's tempting, I'm not sure if it's the smart thing to do. 

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