I found an article I wrote online, published without my permission. They claim they got permission from another company (the company I first sold the article to – and it was *not* a work-for-hire job!). I sent them an invoice. However, they didn’t agree to pay my invoice, only to remove my article. What should I do?
Tell him that’s not good enough. You can’t take away somebody’s copyrights and then restore them just like that (snap!). It’s like spending someone’s rare coin at the store and then trying to pay them back with a quarter. And, the fact that they got caught using stolen goods isn’t your concern. They shouldn’t be publishing articles without speaking to the writer directly. Obviously, you can’t always trust companies that claim they have permission to resell/share articles with others.
You can no longer sell second rights to the article, nor electronic rights. You’ll have to tell everyone it’s been published twice already and nobody is going to want third publication rights to a piece on such a unique topic. If you sued him and won, you’d probably be awarded $700 per infringement. Send them an invoice for $700. It would be to their benefit to pay you $700 now rather than $700 plus attorneys fees (yours and theirs) later. Be sure to let them know that.
If they don’t pay, I suggest you report them to me so I can publish their antics on WritersWeekly Whispers and Warnings.