Hi. I worked for a client through Odesk, he asked for three Poker-related articles and I delivered them (basically they were written by another content writer whom I hired).
The client replied back to me that the articles were not unique, one had 33% unique content while the other had 66% unique content. He requested a refund and I refunded him the amount and also apologized for the duplicate content.
They were just 300-words articles.
So now my question is - suppose this client continues using these articles on a live website and gets sued for it, can I land into any trouble? The client already found out that the content was not unique plus I also refunded him the amount so basically there is no contractual obligation anymore…
Hmm, why would the client still be using these articles? You fully refunded the contract fees so surely he’s effectively ‘returned’ the articles back to you as he was not satisfied with the work you performed. You might want to ensure (in writing) that the client is aware that he no longer has the right to use these articles.
Otherwise, is the client claiming that the money you refunded him was merely a ‘discount’ due to the articles containing duplicate content? Does the client therefore still consider the articles to be his?
If the refund is classed as a cancellation of the contract, then yes, the client isn’t allowed to use the articles, they belong to you - although if they are plagiarised (as indicated by the client) then you can’t actually use them, so it sounds like you need to consider action against the person who wrote them for you in the first place.
I broadly agree with ShadowBox, especially the point considering action against the person who supplied the articles to you.
I would just add one point. This won’t help you in the present case, but it’s something that might be of use for other people in similar circumstances. Whenever you are in dispute, and you agree to make a payment or to give a refund, consider using the words “In full and final settlement”. In effect, this means you are saying to the client: I accept that the articles are plagiarised; I will therefore refund you x; this is in full and final settlement. It’s another way of saying that the other person would have no further claim against you.