Hi all. Would be interested in hearing some straightforward advice from any writers with some legal knowhow here:
Before the birth of my twins I'd been hired as a creative/copywriter for California production house Acento since 2012. I regrettably lost my copywriting job ostensibly due to "lack of ideas" at the beginning of the year (basically I was pregnant and was a good excuse to get rid of me).
Contract was in place, but did not cover retrospective compensation for past work I did over the last 6 months of 2014 for the agency (that is subsequently used by private broadcasters). This is due to an associated non-compete clause in my contract.
My last period of work for the firm included a TV campaign for banking giant Wells Fargo and launch work for Todd and Clare, a dating platform based in SF Bay area.
In April 2015, the main Wells Fargo commercial "Learning Sign Language" came out... AANNNDDD my script had been used almost verbatim (the one that I was told was rubbish) and used in an LGBT context that wasn't part of my original. Here's the final version posted April on the Wells Fargo YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxDsx8HfXEk
This has been hurting all year. I spent a month working with a legally deaf man to localize and make the writing more credible for that script. There are several points in the "Learning Sign Language" script, particularly the "Are you warm enough/Cold Part" that isn't even a derivative but a DIRECT lift from the work that I made with Matt, that they have taken.
I've been going with the strategy of having to suck all this up, and accept the reality of seeing my original copywriting used with no credit and no compensation; essentially Fortune 500 bank / major ad agency (Murdoch is on their FB page) vs me, it's truly David and Goliath..
Thought I was going to be calling it quits since I learned in June I wouldn't be getting any severance package (that they strung out in internal appeals for months), then today a friend forwarded me the Todd and Clare stuff they went ahead and used as well. I had done this for Todd and Clare originally 5 months prior to the agency's termination of my copywriting contract.
One of the Todd and Clare TV dating ads is now playing on Lifetime and Comcast network: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKgno0PCt5s
The other one, and name of the commercial "Be Happy. Get On." has been taken directly from my "Find Peace" proposal for Todd and Clare dating (again, I was told back in October 2014 that my script was low-grade and unusable). I now understand it has been totally reworked by the agency into an Android mobile ad (when it was drafted originally this was going to be for a cable network campaign.)
T&C have reposted it on their dating life blog: https://www.toddandclare.com/datingl...-happy-get-on/
I should point out that I didn't work directly with Wells Fargo or Todd and Clare. Not a member of any LA writers union.
Don't have the money to sue the agency, but sure as hell want to do something. I feel so depressed at the mo, and when I think about the hours I put in with Matt and the WF commercial as a central copywriter it just feels so angry-making and disappointing combined that I won't be paid for any of this now.
The Wells Fargo campaign ended months ago and the Todd and Clare online dating commercials I believe have just finished its comcast run.
Would love to do something, if anyone has any advice for taking action/information they can forward me.. I'm listening. I just feel writers always end up with the short end of the stick...