Connecticut: What is the best route for an artist to obtain funds when a client refusing to pay?

Like several people have said, you own the work until you get paid, and they cannot use it until they do. This kind of thing is happening more and more with kickstarter projects, and in the indy field. I think in a lot of cases its a scam to get free art.

First step, and ask them politely to pay for the work you completed. Send them a dated invoice, with a payment time frame, like 30 days. That's standard. If they refuse, then send them a polite cease & desist, to remove your art from their promotional materials, destroy all copies, and inform them you will monitor them for your work appearing in the future. Write it off as a learning experience, or take them to small claims after that. If you have contracts and proof you handed the specified work over, as agreed, a judge will have no problems finding for you.

In the future, you might want to change your contracts for things like kill fees - that's a fee, usually a percentage of the final payment amount, that goes up incrementally if they change or cancel the project, or decide not to use you, after a certain date. Also, require half of the final fees up front before you do a single bit of work, that's standard and if they have a problem with it, they're the ones being unprofessional.

This is business. Be a business person. It's not personal, it's business. You completed work, as per a contract, they owe you that money, regardless of their reasons.

Also, you might want to look at the Graphic Artists Guild, they have contract templates and legal help when you join, they're an excellent resource for getting a good contract together, and helping when things go bad, which they will, from time to time.

One thing I hear from designers and artists starting out is "I don't want to be a jerk and sue them or anything". Drop that attitude immediately. Your time and effort is worth money, and promises and excuses don't pay your rent. Again, it's not personal, it's business, and they owe you money.

/r/legaladvice Thread