Issue with "Keen Studios"

Some time ago I was contacted by a user from Nystic, whose nickname is ‘kesne’
He wanted to hire me to work on his upcoming company. For a game called Intercept.
You can check all about this registering on their site:

Today I told him I wanted to quit, because my time worths more than what he payed for all that work.
And he tried to force me to send him the file I was working on, claiming having legal rights on all the models made based on their ‘concept art’.

I post this to know what you think about it, and for you to take notice in case he contacts you.
Please note the last sentence he says:

20-01-2009		22:04:53		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Kesne		I was thinking about this, man
20-01-2009		22:06:16		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Kesne		and maybe I'm not the right guy for this and this isnt the right job for me at the time I'm on holidays, wich means I get time to chill from my responsabilities, spend time with my girlfriend and my family That means I dont get to work as much as I would on a day I'm restraint to be in my home And it's far too much work for the amount you are paying me.
20-01-2009		22:06:37		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Kesne		I'm getting jammed as I said. I dont really think I'm up to this at this time
20-01-2009		22:11:11		Kesne		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		So are you quitting?
20-01-2009		22:11:33		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Kesne		yeh
20-01-2009		22:11:48		Kesne		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Well, I will need that blender file then
20-01-2009		22:11:53		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Kesne		unless you take me back somewhere near april 
20-01-2009		22:11:54		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Kesne		oO
20-01-2009		22:11:58		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Kesne		the one I've been working on?
20-01-2009		22:12:05		Kesne		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Yea
20-01-2009		22:12:21		Kesne		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		And contact me in april and we will gladly bring you back in.
20-01-2009		22:13:14		[c=5]Ξ[/c][c=1]Gabriel[/c]		Kesne		hm, I dont think I'd like to send it oO unless we go farther with it, later this year

Kesne dice (23:13):
Well, I kind of need it.
Kesne dice (23:14):
Are you there?
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:15):
I understand, but I wont give it out you know?
Kesne dice (23:15):
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:15):
if we keep in touch for april sure
Kesne dice (23:15):
Well, own the rights to that model.
Kesne dice (23:15):
*we own.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:16):
not really oO
Kesne dice (23:16):
Its in the fine print.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:16):
we havent signed anything and it's my creation
Kesne dice (23:17):
All concept art and models dirived from such are property of Keen Studios and will be treated as such.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:17):
that's not true, you cant claim the rights on something I modeled based on a drawing
Kesne dice (23:18):
Well we do.
Kesne dice (23:18):
By providing you copyrighted work from which to model.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:19):
im sorry man, but that means nothing
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:19):
I could pretty well registered to the forum and downloaded the image
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:19):
that you call concept art
Kesne dice (23:20):
I don't like what you are implying.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:24):
... what would that be?
Kesne dice (23:27):
Never mind
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:27):
so, what do we do?
Kesne dice (23:27):
Well, I want that model.
Kesne dice (23:34):
Hey, you legaly have to give me that model
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:34):
... how come now
Kesne dice (23:35):
It is in the user agreement.
Kesne dice (23:35):
Which at the moment is a little messed up, but that is because of the recent issues that we faced.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:35):
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:35):
i havent signed anything
Kesne dice (23:36):
But you agreed to those terms when signing up to the forum.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:36):
anyway, if you are gonna start bullshiting me with legal cheats, i'd much rather delete the .blend
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:36):
in fact, I'll do that now
Kesne dice (23:36):
And your are legaly obligated.
Kesne dice (23:36):
Deleting the blend will result in legal action.
Kesne dice (23:36):
Because that is not permitted.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:36):
what issues?
and when I agreed it, it said nothing about this, so I'd have to agree to the new one first
Kesne dice (23:37):
It stated it in the privacy policy and the user agreement, it isnt my fault you didnt read it.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:37):
where exactly it says that?
Kesne dice (23:38):
Kesne dice (23:38):
There for one
Kesne dice (23:38):
It repeats itself in multiple areas.
Kesne dice (23:39):
Such as the terms of use.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:39):
it didnt said that before man
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:40):
dont try to cheat on me
Kesne dice (23:40):
It did, I have admin logs to proove it.
Kesne dice (23:40):
I also have the FTP logs.
Kesne dice (23:41):
And the fact that we havent touched the agreements because that takes the entire exectutive board to do.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:41):
ok, you have the rights on the concept art there, but that doesnt mean I cant model basing from those
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:41):
I've done with several other images
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:42):
and nowhere it says it isnt allowed to do so
Kesne dice (23:42):
It also says that models dirived from such concept art is property of keen studios.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:42):
and i'm not breaking any copyright law by modeling it
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:42):
no, you'd have to pay for those
Kesne dice (23:42):
Not in the agreement,
Kesne dice (23:43):
Which you said you agreed to upon registering on the forum.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:43):
I'm not going to let you rob me oO
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:43):
we can discuss all that you want
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:43):
I'm not giving you my work for free
Kesne dice (23:43):
Well, legaly, that agreement says that you have to.
Kesne dice (23:44):
Unless you bypassed that agreement upon registering, which brings up more crimes.
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:44):
ok man, take legal action then
Kesne dice (23:45):
I plan to
Kesne dice (23:45):
Ive already called my layer.
Kesne dice (23:45):
He should contact you shortly.
Kesne dice (23:45):
What is your phone number?
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:45):
man, how old do you think I am?
Kesne dice (23:45):
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:46):
do you think someone this age would fall for that_
Kesne dice (23:46):
Phone number please...
*****?*********Gabriel**** dice (23:46):
ugh man, dont contact me again pls
Kesne dice (23:46):
My layer should email you shortly then.
Kesne dice (23:47):
You can go to hell, I plan on robbing you of everything, Then we'll make sure you never get into this great country.

finkgab, the issue is whether he hired you to do the work. If you are his employee, then he owns the work product. So, the question boils down to this: did you agree to model his concept for pay, and did he pay you.

Now, if he did pay you, then you owe him the work you did based on his drawings. That was your agreement.

If you think he pays too little, well, you can quit, but you can’t keep the work you agreed to do because you don’t think you are getting paid enough. That sounds like extortion, and could get you in a lot of trouble.

If he did not pay you, then he can require you to delete the work, since it is based on his copyrighted concept drawing, but he can’t force you to give it to him for nothing. There has to be an exchange to be a valid contract.

It does not sound like a very professional operation, if he is hiding important agreements in site registration boilerplate. You may not have “signed” anything, but he should at least have spelled out the agreement in an e-mail, which you read and agree to in an email back, before you started to do any work.

By the way, I am not going to register on his site, given the problems you are having, to check on anything. Good luck.

Thanks for you answer :slight_smile:
He hired me, though we never signed anything. (He was supposed to send me a contract to my mail).
He didnt pay me either, I havent finished the work.
And I agree, he’s been anything but professional.

If he paid you to do the work and you did it and accepted the pay, then you need to provide him with the file. As for the lawyer talk, he’s obviously full of turds. “MY LAWYER IS GOING TO CALL YOU. (by the way, what’s your phone #? kthx)”.

The only way you would be able to delete that file and call it a day would be if you had simply refused payment. The right thing to do is probably to give up the file and never deal with them again.

EdiT: Whoops. Just saw your last post. I’d say that if no money has changed hands you delete the file. Also, if you’re under 18, show the exchange to your parents/guardians. Us older folks don’t take kindly to people making ludicrous legal threats against our youngsters.

He hasn’t payed me :slight_smile:
And by no means I’m giving out the file, as you can tell, hehe

Ok, so he didn’t email you a contract, he hasn’t paid you anything, he did send you some concept art, and you used the concept art to do some unfinished modeling.

What you have is called a derivative work (work that is based on some other artwork) and it is considered a “copy” under most copyright laws. Sounds like he didn’t tell you up front that the concept art was copyright, but buried this information in the site registration boilerplate. So it might be argued that he put the work in public domain by publishing it on his web site without a copyright notice, or emailed it to you without explicitly saying it was copyright, but that arguement might win or lose.

It’s probably not worth fighting a copyright battle. But it does not mean he owns your work. It just means you can’t publish it, put it on the web, or copy it in any other way (since he might own the copyright), and he can ask you to delete it, as an unlicenced copy.

Next time: don’t start work before you have the contract. Don’t work entirely on spec. Get some payment up front, some payment when any deliverable is made so you have most of the fee when everything is delivered, with a small remainder to be paid when the client decides he’s satisfied with it.

If he hasnt paid you and you never signed a contract tell him that you eagerly await contact from his attorney so that you and the attorney can both laugh about how silly he is.

If he has paid you (even if you latter decided that the pay was too low) you might be on the hook. However, without a written contract the legal fees involved in recovering the model would probably not be worth the effort.

  • Click-through contracts have a dubious legal history and their legal-binding-ness (it’s a word! I swear!) is certainly in a grey area.
  • Contracts with minors (in the U.S. at least) are subject to higher levels of scrutiny. If you agreed to a contract without parental consent, the entire agreement may be null and void.
  • The art that you based your model on is considered derivative work and is technically covered by his copyright (whether explicitly mentioned or not… under most copyright laws, once something is created, it’s automatically copyrighted to the person that created it).This means that you cannot distribute your model or include it in any work that you are releasing. Using it for personal demo/portfolio material may fall under fair use, but since you’re technically releasing the portfolio for others to view, it’s a bit grey.
  • Even though he owns the copyright, that does not mean he’s entitled to the model without compensation. The most he can do at this point is request that you cease and desist distribution of that model. Now, had you distributed the model (or art/renders based on the model) and profited from it, then it gets a little hairy. For everyone’s sanity, though, as long as you don’t distribute, you’re in the clear. That model is your model. You own (technically, you share) the copyright to that implementation/derivative of the concept art and you are free to do whatever you want with it outside of distribution. Deletion is perfectly fine.
  • Keep records of everything. Whether or not you delete the file is entirely up to you. But if you do delete it, make it a complete deletion and document it as thoroughly as possible.
  • I am not a lawyer. Copyright law just happens to be a hobby of mine. If you have real concerns, consult an attorney that specialized in intellectual property.

What a joker!

Don’t give him the model and don’t delete it either…

Others have covered it pretty well, but personally I wouldn’t even delete the file as it can be argued as “fair use”. (as long as I don’t publish it)

He can’t claim the file until you’ve both agreed on how much it’s worth,
There’s no legal agreement on what that is as there’s no contract, you’re just negotiating.

what were some of terms of the contract that you entered into, if the agreement was that he would pay you on completion of work, and he can provide sufficient evidence that he could have paided you had you finished the work, than the ball swings into his court.

the questions you have to ask yourself are this

  1. Was the work that he hired you to do realistically speaking going to take longer than a year to complete?
  2. Was he going to pay you more than $500?

if you answer no to both these question, than the fact that you took on work with the knowledge that you were going to get paid for it means you have a legally binding agreement whether you signed a contract or not. (I thinks these are some of the terms that apply to verbal contracts which are legally binding). If you are in a legalling binding contract than am afraid the work would be his, work done under a contract is owned by the client.

the best thing right now is to do nothing and get the advice of a real lawyer.

Why is the guy calling in his layer?

He isn’t. He’s just trying to intimidate someone by claiming to do so.

Yeah, I picked up on that, too. That’s GOLD!

I you are going to make half witted legal threats, you should at least learn to spell the word “lawyer”!
It’s all been said already, but I’d just add…

If you want, you could offer to send him the incomplete model for a given reasonable price.
If he really needs that model, he should pay you for your work. Simple as that. Despite his apparent mental problems, he isn’t a charity.

Well I more or less agree with the above comments, so I won’t repeat them.

If he keeps asking you for a phone number, just give him the phone number of a pizza place or something.
As for this ‘studio’, I’d suspect this guy isn’t a day over age 12.

“Deleting the blend will result in legal action.” :smiley:

You should maybe just mark his email as spam and forget about it.
Actually you shouldn’t even open his files if he’s a programmer,
because maybe he knows how to use viruses.
Plus if he’s in another country he can’t really sue for a blend,
unless he has some crazy ‘layer’ with massive financial/gambling problems. :smiley:
“I probably stand to earn 34 Euros off of this International lawsuit!!!” says the layer.

publish the model for free !!! har,har!


really, lets not start publishing private message threads in the forums…
i hope you get the thing settled… but i dont see how this helps.


This is why you should never start a job without a signed contract, detailing everything, the work, who has rights to the finished work, payment, milestones, due dates, early termination of the project. It saves a lot of aggravation.

Did you start the work before Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:09 am?
If so then here is the cached version of the privacy policy.

Edit (the following is pretty much the same thing Fweeb said:

Any way, the issue will come down to really whether you will sell the model or not. If you keep it to yourself then you are fine because that shows that you are honoring your side of the “contract” by producing the work. If he wants that work then he should pay you for it thereby honoring his side of the “contract.” As long as you don’t sell the model to any one or give it out in some public form then you don’t have to worry about any grey areas of the legal system.

So if you want to just not give him the model then you are fine to do so and don’t have to delete it. Copyrights exist just to ensure that someone else does not make money off of your intellectual property and that is it. If you don’t make money there is no legal confusion. No court or lawyer will take a case where a guy is trying to get something without paying for it.

Because of the proof that the “Privacy Policy” was changed as recently as last month, that “small print” means very little if you can prove that you signed up for the site before the Dec 02, 2008 5:09 am. Even if you signed up later a “use” restriction belongs in a “terms of use” contract as a “privacy policy” contract is meant to inform the user how their privacy is being treated as far as it comes to the information that is submitted to them.

lo’t’ of argumentation but that’s what happen when things are not clear
and a good contract is signed but even that may not be enough
in some cases

but one thing i would like some clarification
one of the comment was

“under most copyright laws, once something is created, it’s automatically copyrighted to the person that created it).”

one thing is if your are working for somebody ( or company ) else it is probably copyrighted to the company for which your are working

i’m ot certrain about that one

normally there must be some indication of this copyright somewhere and visible
not hidden or invisible to oher persons!

you know like the letter “C” for copyright and a date

if the person in question did not say it was copyright and no mention of it anywhere
in sight - and not registered officialy ( Legally ) then i would say it’s not copyrighted!

or every pic or image on the web would be copyrighted which is not the case as i know of
there must be some indication that it is copyrighted

but may be i’m wrong?

and another thing - it’s very hard to draw with a lawyer in your back!

Happy Blendering