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Protecting Yourself While Working With People Online

Discussion in 'Legal Aspects of Running a Business' started by Nikita, Jan 29, 2016.

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  1. Nikita

    Nikita Member

    I've met a lot of people online that I would love to collaborate with but I've always hesitated because I don't know how I would go about protecting myself and my work from being misused or stolen. For example, I want to send my digital music artwork to another artist living overseas for them to add more to the content, but I am afraid that they will freely be able to just claim it as their own once I have sent it and I'd have little to no legal recourse when they do. Is there anything I can do in this case, such as maybe sending over physical copies of contracts for them to sign, or maybe there are online counterparts for this? Additionally, which country's laws should I consider more, my own or theirs or a mix of both?
    Andorphin likes this.
  2. Andorphin

    Andorphin Member

    Since it's their decision whether they want to manipulate your work or not I think you should consider their country's laws. But yeah I think there should be at least counterparts dedicated to such types of things or maybe online incorporated restrictions for every content sent.
  3. bria1

    bria1 Member

    This is a great post thank you. I am also skeptical about these things and being a graphic designer I have to make sure I protect my work. The way I do this by getting payment before releasing my work. I think contractual agreements can sometimes nip this in the bud before it starts. A good lawyer can give you some awesome advice as well.
  4. Pop

    Pop Member

    Basically if I am sharing my intellectual property I only work with collaborators I can trust. That means either I know the personally or I know their reputation means something to them.

    For basic contractors or service providers I normally work through an intermediary interface that will resolve disputes and delete accounts for those who misbehave. Generally keeping their account means more to them than whatever they might make by adapting or pirating client's work.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  5. I am very conscious about online protection. I don't share much about myself. I control what I share. I don't give my personal information to the people I meet online.
  6. 111kg

    111kg Member

    Gary Vaynerchuck said it better: if you don't trust your partners completely, then you need better partners. If you want feedback from another artist, you need his/her services or just his/her time actually.

    But why do you need feedback, by the way? Why don't you just publish it and let the listeners decide whether it's good or not.
  7. Excellent thread, since this is a very real concern when working online, not just with people, but with companies as well. Knowing the legal resources you can use in case of a private property or agreement violation, is key for protecting yourself online.
    setupdisc likes this.
  8. briannagodess

    briannagodess Member

    That's really the downside of working with other people online, you never really know who you can trust. But you know what? Even offline, there are scammers, backstabbers and thieves. I can't count the number of times I've encountered such people in real life. And the surprising thing is, I haven't been scammed online!

    I guess you would really have to be careful and try to look for signs that says that person isn't trustworthy. I'd say create contracts and let them sign it and send it back to you. Ask for identification cards and crime records as well. Background checks can be done online although it costs some money.

    Finally, you have to take both countries' laws into consideration. After all, it is a partnership and you would need to work hand-in-hand to improve your product, service or skill.
  9. Nikita

    Nikita Member

    In this hypothetical case I would be more asking for participation rather than feedback, such as putting down a structure for music and sending it to someone to get them to contribute, so the luxury of finding someone trustworthy as well as being the best for the job might not be as easy to find in this situation, especially since it's more just a collaboration than an all out partnership.
  10. rz3300

    rz3300 Member

    Well anytime you factor in international law and copyright infringement and all of that fun stuff I am sure that the answer is a little bit hazy, but I would have to unfortunately say that you would have to rely on the legal status in their country and how well they regulate their industries. I would just do as much research as possible on the subject before jeopardizing anything substantial.
  11. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Member

    It's really difficult to protect your work when you're dealing with a lot of people online. Well, you have to make sure that the person you're talking to is someone who's reliable and accountable. Also, before you send him/her work, ask for a payment first.
  12. swalia

    swalia Member

    It's always better to work with the people you trust. In case you are working with new people then it's better to have a legal contract first. You should have clears terms and conditions in writing before working with new people.
  13. eProject

    eProject Member

    Working with anonymous identities online is very dangerous. Most people do claim to be genuine but they only want to steal your identity so that they can use it for their own benefits. Some may want to steal your banking information for them to steal money from your accounts. Never send your content because they may delete their profiles or email addresses at anytime.
  14. bria1

    bria1 Member

    I would be very aware of all people you share any type of sensitive information with online as well as who you share you work with. There are great people out here don't get me wrong...but there are also those who mean you harm. The level of identity theft these days is just unbelievable.
  15. setupdisc

    setupdisc Member

    Get everything you can in writing, and find out whether a digital signature is acceptable and can be upheld if you ever need to legally pursue a violation of it from one or more people involved with a project or a business partner. When someone signs a contract that is binding (whether it's online, a digital signature on a stylus, or a written and notarized one), you usually don't have to worry about them doing devious or shady things because they know their name, their finances, and even their freedom can be on the line depending on what it is they might do. There are still a few who are hardcore that will test the waters and try to take advantage or steal from other people, but the amount of those kinds are reduced significantly by having things in writing and legally recognized first.

    Another way to protect something beyond a contract or a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is to have a copyright, a trademark, or patent-pending status on a method or apparatus that prohibits them from doing actions with your own property or works that you rightfully own.

    If there are aspects of an engagement or business that for some reason you don't forsee others being able to be trusted with, it might be ideal to find alternatives to where you can still move forward with your business and them being a part of it, but isolating and compartmentalizing information to where they are on a need-to-know basis with some areas of what you do, are able to know some aspects universally, but are restricted from other information or needs that you either outsource to a person or place that is trusted to keep them safe and is legally bound to that which you do trust...or you must do those things yourself since you know that you can trust yourself to keep it safe and do what is required with it correctly.

    It's great when you can be 100% forthcoming and place everything on the table with anyone you work closely with, but it's not always practical or safe to do that even when you really want to be able to. It would make everything a lot easier, but you have to be wise to how other people are and protect yourself from being taken advantage of if there is an opportunity to. I have been surprised in the past by how some people I thought who were totally honest were not, and how other people I thought might not be trustworthy turned out to be some of the most trusted in my circles even today.

    Things are not always as they appear or seem, but you can always find your way through the gray areas. If you have any misgivings about how you feel with a business transaction or an arrangement, always trust your gut...and then see if there is a logical basis for why you came to that conclusion. It isn't always right, but it's very seldom wrong.
    Alex77789 likes this.
  16. I have worked as a ghost writer as well as hired people to ghost write for me. I have not broken my NDA and will never do it in the future. So far, none of my ghostwriters have violated NDA. Thus there is no problem for me. One of the most important thing to consider while working online is financial protection. If your payment is not secured, you can incur heavy loss.
  17. remnant

    remnant Member

    I think the best thing to do is to sell your work to a website that requires buyers to deposit milestones to ensure you are paid. You can search for websites relevant to your niche which ask for milestones. On the other hand, you can bid your work on Fiverr.com and sell your skill for 5$, and quote higher rates for work that requires more skills.
  18. Alex77789

    Alex77789 Member

    Useful information)
    Thanks, guys))
  19. pwarbi

    pwarbi Member

    I think that a lot of people for some reason don't employ the same sort of caution when working with people online, than what they would in a offline partnership and I've never understood why.

    You wouldn't just pick the first person that came along to work with without checking then out first, but a lot of people online don't do that and just take that persons word for it, what they've done and who they are. Its no surprise that a lot of online partnerships end in years.

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