Lack of courtesy or proper assertiveness?

Over the weekend I got a snarky letter from an organization I won’t name, objecting to the use of an image they claim to own. Not here – elsewhere. Draw your own conclusions since I don’t post in that many places on the Intertubes.

Now, I don’t know if it’s even legit, but from what I’ve heard about the organisations and societies relating to this oh-so-seminal author of oh-so-seminal fantasy who shall also remain coyly nameless, it’s that many of them have sticks up their ass and an overblown impression of their own importance to literature, fantasy and the universe in general.

Don’t get me wrong – if the pic was used without permission, apology shall be profferred and retribution made. At least, I’m pretty sure it will. Since I had nothing to do with the selection and/or use of said image, I’ve kicked the demanding email upstairs as is only proper.

I dunno what’s rubbing me the wrong way. Protecting one’s intellectual property is everyone’s right and I would probably exercise mine if people ripped my stuff off with no attribution. But I’m not sure I would go wading in quoting lawyers and legalese and using a generally high-handed tone.

Then again, I’m also patiently waiting for payment on work invoices that have 45-day payment terms (pretty damn generous considering I deliver my work before I even get to invoice for it), long after the 45 days are gone. I’m going to have to do something about that because not being able to pay my rent or organise my trip abroad properly is probably more important than being ever-so nice and understanding of my clients. I need more American in my British makeup, I suspect.

Maybe I need to get some snark of my own when it comes to defending my output, whether it’s attribution or payment.

17 thoughts on “Lack of courtesy or proper assertiveness?

  1. I feel for your 45 day payment terms. I handle calibration and repairs for my company, so I deal with several vendors who all have 45 day payment terms. However, my company says nuh-uh, we’ll pay you in 90 days, thank you very much.

    At least they do pay in 90 days and don’t leave the vendors hanging.

    1. It probably isn’t, but there isn’t much I can do about it.

      @Copernicus — the 45 day terms aren’t mine, they’re *theirs* – that’s what makes it so bloody frustrating sometimes. We originally used 30-day terms but in the translation business, the agencies set the terms and the freelancers bend over.

  2. I have no idea; I’m afraid to go down that rabbit hole. We have whole purchasing and legal departments to handle that stuff, so I leave it to them.

  3. It’s legal because it’s a contract that the other company agrees to. People supplying Copernicus’ company and being told they’ll have to wait 90 days to be paid have the option to tell them to go boil their heads instead of selling to them.

    Regarding the image if questioned take it down. Unless you are 100% sure they don’t own the copyright. If it’s a crappy pic from a crappy author you won’t miss it anyway (I’m guessing Drizzt, just replace with Elric for a much cooler look).

    Regarding not getting paid do send chasing letters or emails. A lot of people will pay when pushed. A friend of mine who is excellent at this phones every day until paid and prolongs every conversation as long as they can. If someone takes a week to pay her they’ll have spent 2 hours on the phone to her and told her all about their kids, what they think of their bosses, what their other half does etc etc. She can call them back 6 months later and they’ll put her payment in the post that afternoon even if they have hundreds to process in their in-tray.

    1. Not Drizzt – I don’t consider R. A. Salvatore seminal, which may say more about my literary snobbishness than about him. πŸ˜‰

      1. Lol that was my guess as well, not because RAS is seminal, but because from what I’ve read he seems to think he is, which would fit well with your pseudo-profile.

  4. I have 7 day terms on my invoices. Doesn’t mean they’ll be paid in that time, which normally doesn’t worry too much since my clients do actually pay mostly within the month.

    I did do one job though for a US based individual which is now sitting on a report at 90 days+ (in fact it’s been nearly a year since the invoice was issued.)

    Here’s to paying customers!

    BTW,did the legal-lovin-letter writer tell you where the offending image was posted?

  5. One problem is that there are certain requirements that must be met to file a DMCA takedown request. Yeah, it tends to come across as rather brutal if you take it at face value, but it’s possible the original person was just following the requirements via a form letter. I had to do the same thing for some M59-related stuff, and one Australian host balked at it for similar reasons. I explained the legal requirements and that I didn’t know the company was Australian, and everything was smoothed over (and they took down the infringing content).

    Not to say some people aren’t total pricks about the whole thing issue. But, there is a more reasonable explanation for it.

    1. Aye, in point of fact I was the one being unreasonable. I’m frustrated atm, mostly about having thousands of dollars out in unpaid & overdue invoices, and I just knee-jerked at the closest available target (while trying to make at least a bit of a reasonable point).

  6. Not sure if you can do it with agents in the mix, but it’s common American practice to put a “interest on overdue invoices” clause there. Sending follow-up invoices with rising dollar amounts sometimes gets attention.

    1. I probably could, but they’d ignore them. By “agencies” I mean translation agencies – they get the primary clients and farm the work out to freelancers like me. It’s preferable to have your own direct clients in many ways (much better money), but the larger outfits also have more contracts (e.g. when a client like Playdom wants a game translated into 12 different languages). As it was, I sent them a reasonably-worded “you guys are treating me like shit while expecting me to be available 24/7” email and that prompted them to cut a couple of checks. Or so I’m told. They’re in the mail. πŸ˜‰

      1. You do remember that the “cheque is in the mail” is right up there with a few other choice phrases? (See, I spelt using English too)

        PS: How long are you going to be in France?

      2. 10 days only counting travel days, so a week really. Not long enough, or I’d have popped over the Manche to come see you lot πŸ™ – but there’s a lot to do with my dad (admin stuff) so I doubt it’ll happen.

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