Help! Buyer trying to publish my delivered stories


I write custom short stories on Fiverr. A buyer recently ordered four gigs from me, requesting I wrote four mini chapters. After delivering I wanted to make sure she did not try to sell my work and changed my description to insist on no resale of my custom short story. The buyer then said they would not order from me again, and that the stories I had delivered before changing the description were solely her possession and that she would publish, sell, promote as her own etc. The Fiverr Tos states that custom works remain solely in possession of the seller. What should I do about the buyer? Is the buyer right? Should I contact customer service? Thanks.


I would chalk this one up to experience since, in essence, you made the mistake of not thinking ahead and realizing what some if not all of your buyers would end up doing with your written work. Since the disclaimer was not there when the client ordered, it is truly unfair of you to change the rules after taking their order and delivering and then realizing that you made a mistake. This client knows they got a good thing, and took advantage of your greenness.

Legally, I highly doubt anything could be done since initially you did not express what your Gig description now says.

And, why would they order from you again? Obviously, they probably intended to pass the work off as their own. I think a lot of the people who ask for articles or blog posts publish them under the guise that they were creative enough to come up with the content!

Learn from this and move forward.



Sorry but since your description didn’t state it before delivering it, the buyer have full rights to your work. I’m not sure what level you are but maybe you can add some gig extras to sell the rights to the buyer.


I’m curious. If you are selling short stories the note on your gig states: Note: Each story is owned by… and not authorized for resale, publication, or other uses" so why/what are buyers doing with your stories when purchased?


Reply to @newopp: Unfortunately I added that update after she ordered my gig, she is trying to publish as her own work.


Reply to @judgevaus: I get you added it afterwards which still leaves me at a loss as to what someone can do with your stories now if they can’t publish, resale or other uses…


I am pretty sure that stating it in your description does not actually make a difference either.

This was discussed the other day and someone quoted parts of the T+C’s and I’m pretty sure it stated something along the lines of work delivered to someone is then owned by that person?

Otherwise there would be people all over the planet trying to sue


You state that you write “custom” short stories, this means it is “work” for hire based on the buyers instructions, they own the works once paid for. Why would anyone order any custom written work and not be able to publish or do with as they see fit. The Internet is full of writing content mills where people purchase articles to publish on their blogs.

I daresay writers would not get much work on here if they did not allow the buyer to do nothing more than read the works to themselves.

Copyright any work that cannot be resold, without royalties being paid to you.

Where writers get into to trouble is they sell articles that they the writer have published elsewhere on the Internet. They do this thinking they own the rights to the works once they sell it to someone. That someone tries to sell it or publish it on another website only to find out it was essentially plagiarized because copies exist on other websites.


lol… I am going to write you a short story that you pay for. But you can only read it. hahahahahaha Man some sellers have lost their mind.


A writer can offer exclusive rights or non-exclusive rights. You can offer temporary publishing rights based on a time frame or based on an amount of ‘uses’ as defined in the agreement. You can specify many parameters for the rights of what you’re selling… You can make it part of the contract that they must credit you for your work. Obviously many different laws and regulations come into play when dealing with clients worldwide and one must research all of the laws that apply depending on where you offer your work. It’s complicated to keep track of, much more complicated than many make it out to be, but there are many ways to offer your work in a more limited structure without making your services or gigs useless. Some seem to suggest that all rights are given up but that is simply not the case. In some cases, while the client can use the document in many ways, they may not directly lie or misrepresent facts about how it was created knowingly. Then everything is wrapped in what you agree to when you sign up for and I’m new here myself…

There are lots of reasons to want to force buyers to credit you. There are lots of reasons to limit your work. While some laugh at this idea of paying someone to let them read a story, is this not what you do when you buy digital versions of books and magazines?

You can’t say you wrote those books you put on your mobile device from Google Play, or iTunes, or Amazon… You’re really only buying the rights to consume it or read it. Not to redistribute it, or sell it, or claim it as yours… But this was made clear in the many agreements you make with these services.

Obviously it depends on the writer, the content, and the demand. Some writers can do that!

Can you set up contracts before you deliver your gigs by sending those who hire you a contract through something like EchoSign with Adobe? There are many other services like this out there…



Reply to @johnbradleypeel: Yes but are you quoting those rules from general knowledge of a ‘proper’ freelance/company writer or from Fiverr’s terms of service?

The same rules outside of Fiverr do not necessarily apply inside of Fiverr. There are no formal ways of writers being able to stop their work being used elsewhere when it comes to working at Fiverr.


Maybe the best thing to do is to scale back on your initial offer. Perhaps just offer an story idea, and if the buyer likes it and want you to write more of the story, they’ll have to pay more in gig extras. If you feel the story will be worth some real money in the future, it might be best to buy the copyrights to it prior to sending it to the seller. Otherwise, you won’t have any real case if you need to take legal actions. Just a thought.