Fiverr Forum

Persistent Buyer troubles :/


Basically, on my art gig, I state very clearly that I “do not do work for books - especially children’s books”. I say this because not only is it extremely time-consuming when I have other orders and school work, but I also don’t find it particularly fair that I would be selling a picture for $5 and someone will be making much, much more off it. Call it selfish, but, hey. Sorry. My gig is for personalised gifts for family and friends, and I want it to stay that way.

This buyer has messaged me asking to make an audio book. I politely declined and expressed my qualms with it, but he’s not taking no for an answer and I’m not very good at saying ‘no’ for long before I get guilt-tripped into it. He wants my phone number to chat about it and that made me a little uncomfortable, to be fair :’)

He wants to discuss it before I say no, but I was very clear with him as to why I didn’t want to do it and I will only waver if I discuss it further, and then get angry with myself later when I break and bust my hump to draw for this book, to get no credit as illustrator and a rather small amount of money for something that will be published and sold everywhere. Like I said; I prefer projects that are personalised gifts. I don’t want to draw for books.

Can I get some advice? I know the whole ‘I don’t want to draw for books’ is a very spoilt, childish thing to say, but, please try and level with me? :slight_smile:


You sound like you’re referring to intellectual property rights, which do not apply in cases like this. Copyright ownership fails when a graphic is designed, to another persons specifications and money changes hands.

You’re talking about licensing, which is to take an image that already exists and sell the rights to use it for something. In that case, the copyright holder still maintains the “Final say”.

It’s a grey area, I know. But I’ve went through this with regards to a Logo made for an Independent Film. In a nutshell, because the film was independent, and they had no money, the producer got someone to design the films logo for them. In this case, $1.00 was paid to the creator of the logo.

The indie film actually made a “Little bit” of money. Once the logo creator figured this out he demanded money for using his logo, quoting that he owned the rights.

The producer was sued, and the case was eventually thrown out of court. Because of the reason I just posted.

So. Like I said. The law really sucks. But, in a nutshell…

Once you create an image, designed to someone else’s specifications you become a contractor, getting paid a sum to complete a job. Once money changes hands, since you created the image for someone else, as a paid commission, you sell to the new owner all copyrights.

Which is different than if the artist sells you rights to use… say… an image they have in their portfolio, for use on your web site. In that case the creator owns all the legal rights.

I guess, in the end the only real difference is that once someone pays you to actually create an image for them, it becomes a job. Once money changes hands it becomes a sale. As opposed to me ‘Borrowing’ a pre-existing image for something, and paying a ‘Rental fee’.

Bottom line? I couldn’t see anyone ever really suing someone here on Fiverr. It just wouldn’t be worth it. LOL


Tell him that giving him your phone number is against Fiverr’s rules and could get you banned (which I think is true, as you are supposed to have no outside contact with buyers.) Besides, ‘no’ is a complete sentence. You might want to just delete his emails unread from now on.

And there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to draw for children’s books. I refuse to give up the rights to my writing gig making it ‘entertainment only’ even though I’ve lost gigs that way. Write your own book, sez I! I do this for the entertainment of non-writers as well as to sharpen my own skills for my own career. :smiley:

Remember, you are allowed to set your boundaries and no one else has the right to tell you those are Not Good Boundaries. They are your boundaries and anyone who doesn’t respect that, doesn’t respect you and aren’t worth your time.


Reply to @crcanny: Yes - I thought that it was against the rules! I ignored the message requesting my number, and mused over whether that would merit a reporting. I suppose I just want to hide from him a little bit :'D I shall do that, definitely. There’s nothing worse than just having to reply with “No.” “No.” “No.” …only a little more politely, of course.

Wooh! Writing. Yeah, I know exactly how you mean; I do a lot of writing and understand why you would want to keep the rights. Thank you for replying!

Do I send one final No, or do I ignore him?


I would report him straight away for asking for your number and by the sounds of it if you gave it to him you would have a serial stalker on your hands. Also notice he asked you for your number and apparently never offered his. It seems pretty obvious to me he knows very well this is against the TOS of Fiverr. If he is giving you this much hassle on Fiverr imagine how much he would give you outside if he had direct contact. I would report them and move on.


Edit: Forgot to hit ‘reply’, sorry.


Reply to @boslass: I think you’ve said all you need to say. The more you engage him, the longer he’ll think there’s a chance. Nothing says “No” like saying nothing.


@boslass - What I would do in your situation is this: Decide how many gigs it would take to fulfill his request and then give him the choice of 1) Ordering that many gigs or 2) Telling time what you WILL do for only one $5 gig.

Professionally explain to him that your gig clearly stated that you will not do the book for just one gig and if he wants to purchase your 4 (for examples) gigs, you will do it for him. If she STILL will not take no for an answer, start a mutual cancellation with him… You will not lose your rating because of a mutual cancellation. Just don’t do a forced cancellation or it will have a negative effect on your rating.



You gut instinct is saying No so you need to go with that and as they said giving a # out is against TOS


Thank you! I think I might just ignore him ._. I’d feel guilty about it, but not as bad as I’d feel if I caved and did the pictures for him. I’ve made my points clear, after all, and he will not listen.


I would also be very careful in this situation.

(A lot of Fiverr sellers do this, and should be aware of the following).

You can’t state that you won’t allow your work to be in say… a childrens book. And here’s why.

Once you make the sale, you are selling that person the rights to use that image however they want. And, because the transaction is all done online there is a record of the sale.

Once you sell someone your intellectual property it becomes theirs to do with what they please. It’s kind of like selling a car but telling the buyer they can’t change the tires on it or you’ll sue them. You can’t do it.

So, for all you graphic designers out there… be aware of this. Once you sell someone an image they can do whatever they want with it. That’s why it’s called selling and not loaning. :slight_smile:


Reply to @madmoo: I read that too. You have to mention in your description or instructions that you keep the rights. I’ve seen a voice over actress who doesn’t allow her work to be used for commercial use, unless you order her gig extra ($100). She was damn good, but I ended up not ordering because of that.


Yes. But that’s a house policy. When it comes to the law… let’s just say if you designed a graphic on Fiverr with a clause not to use it, and the buyer uses it on a book that sells 100 million copies, you go to court. Well. Legally the purchaser has all the rights. Like I said, that’s what it means to buy something and not lease something. You can’t sell something with stipulations.

The Fiverr disclaimer is becomes considered a company policy or house rule. Meaning it has little value under the law. Fiverr could close an account if someone complained that someone used their gig to make money when told not to. But that’s it. No hope for a lawsuit or even a cease and desist. So long as a record of the sale exists.


Reply to @bigbadbilly: The buyer doesn’t necessarily have all the rights. The person who creates the artwork has the copyright and doesn’t have to sell that on. The buyer can sell the usage rights but the artist will retain the copyright and be able to limit how the work is used and whether it is used for commercial reasons. The copyright holder will have the right to sue where there has been a breach of contract - and using for commercial use when the description clearly states that is not allowed is a breach of contract.


You may have to obtain a copyright on the works or have a registered trademark for you to stipulate how it is used.

I write articles and I would not sell many if any at all, if I required my name on the byline. Now if I write a book and copyright it then yes you cannot use my works for financial gain and I would have a say in its distribution. Just like pirating copyrighted songs is illegal.

Once sold unless copyrighted and a contract signed the buyers obtain all rights. However, if a buyer cancels and then still uses the article I can ask for it to be removed from a website. This is of course only my opinion.


Can I add my 5cents?

I don’t really understand why you don’t want to work on some book for kids (I always liked the idea of passing some knowledge to future generations). If you don’t want to get paid 4$, while someone will make more by using your work, simply raise the price of your gig. Make an extra saying “I will make illustration for commercial use - Extra 50$” (or other amount that you find appropriate).

It is a pretty straight forward process - there is a person who likes your pictures, and who wants to buy your work (is willing to pay). Now its for you to decide how much you want for it! You can do 10 pictures for some buyers saying it is for personal gift, or you can do one for the person who will make book with your illustration. You say time consuming? Math is simple, divide the time needed for this illustration by the time needed to complete the standard order - that is a minimum number of gigs the buyer should order :slight_smile: If buyer say - “OMG that is too expensive” - well it is him who said NO! If buyer say - “OK, I agree” - you got a good deal! If he wants a book with 30-50 illustrations, and willing to pay 50$ per each, why would you want to reject his offer?


Maybe if someone creates something that could really be worth something somday, the seller should immediately copyright it online prior to sending it to the buyer. It will take 6 months to get the actual certificate, but as soon as you submit the work, its yours.

ghostblogger said: You may have to obtain a copyright on the works or have a registered trademark for you to stipulate how it is used

Ah yes, I think that is the case - for the US anyway. I know that to take someone to court for using a book or articles online, the work has to be registered by the copyright holder for a court to even consider it in the US. In the UK (where I am) it's completely different where just being the original owner and legal copyright holder is viable for the courts.

I'm wondering whether it wouldn't actually be copyright that you would be suing for but a breach of contract. If you stated in a contract that the copyright remained yours and the buyer couldn't use it for profit and he/she did, it would be a breach of contract and something that the courts would listen to. So, make sure it is in the description of the gig and you reiterate it in the instructions. The description would act as a contract when a buyer pays for the gig, as it is the buyer agreeing to your terms.


What if seller changes the description of his gig after some time? Like for the present s/he sells the work (drawings, sketches, texts) without any mention of selling rights. After few months description changes to something saying that all copyrights reserved and any commercial use of work is strictly prohibited? That is possible problem for both sides. Buyer may say that this clause has never been in Gig description, or seller may state it was there for years!

I think the only way to play safe is to add the clause in description, add extra gig for buying full rights, and state it one more time on the order page!

And I fully agree with the logic of bigbadbilly, if buyer provides the seller with details on what he want to be done and after pay the seller upon delivery - that is called the work for hire, meaning all the property rights will pass to a buyer immediately when seller receives a payment! Gig description might not be considered as a contract, since it may change at any time (thus thing like breach of contract is not really applicable here), while conversation on the order page will be logged by a system without possibility to be changed!


Mike K.


Reply to @markp: Good point! Thank you !