I'm an Australian independent contractor. I have a hard-to-work-with European client who I'm happy to let go (and fire). We agreed to work on an app which had been delivered early last year. The client was satisfied with the works, and he's already selling it in the App Store.
There was absolutely no mention of source code, change in code ownership, etc. when the deal was made back in 2015. The project was a modified form of my existing app, which existed before the deal, and the client obviously has no ownership in it. There was no contract. The deal was something like this:
Client: Can you make a new app for me? I want the following features ... Myself: OK. This is the price ....
Unfortunately, the client has been refusing to pay off the final installment which is about $42 AUD. I sent him my bank details on how much he had already paid, and how much he still owed. He agreed the transaction was not complete, but still refused to pay. The project is partially paid.
He is trying to negotiate and bargain with me for the final installment. He insisted I had to send him the source code, something never agreed. He also wants total ownership of everything, but without explicit written agreement (https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/understanding-ip/getting-started-with-ip/ip-ownership), he'd only be given the non-exclusive rights to distribute the app.
Basically, he's bargaining for:
- "Update" and "upgrade" the app whenever he wishes
- Access the source code because he thinks he "paid" for it
What's the best way to address this situation? I'm currently sending him overdue notices, and avoiding to negotiate for something that I should receive unconditionally. Every time he tries to negotiate, I simply reply with a payment notice (and nothing else).
It goes like this:
Client: I agree the transaction is incomplete, but you must hand over the source code ... Myself: Dear xxx, this is the overdue payment notice. The overdue amount is $42.23 AUD ...
Should I negotiate and explain? Should I just keep sending him overdue notices? Should I ignore? What should I do?