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I work for a certain transcription company as an independent contractor. The company pays me to produce transcripts of audio recordings the company provides. A pay rate is given for each assignment. If I produce a good transcript, I get paid all the money I was promised, but if I produce a less-than-decent transcript, I only get paid half of the promised pay.

One time, they cut my pay even though my transcript captured the majority of the content. The reason they gave for this is because I worked offline instead of using the Google document they give me the link to to create the transcript. They did this on one or two other occasions.

Is this legal? Can a company use pay to control how its independent contractors perform the work?

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    You created the transcript, so you own the copyright. They would own the copyright the moment they pay. Until they do, you own the copyright. You can tell them not to use the transcript if they are not paying. – gnasher729 Mar 4 '18 at 16:41
  • "The reason they gave for this is because I worked offline instead of using the Google document they give me the link to to create the transcript." That seems silly given the transcript could just be copied into the document. On the other hand, perhaps they have some auditing system in place that checks the document history, and thus you not doing so results in issues for them. – JAB Mar 4 '18 at 18:14
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An independent contractor is paid to produce the outcome contracted for. If you didn’t produce what your contract requires there is no obligation to pay you.

There maybe a dispute over if the contractor did or didn’t prodoce what was contracted but if they didn’t, they don’t get paid.

An employee is paid per unit of time irrespective of outcome. That is pretty much the difference. Again, there may be dispute over if a person is a contractor or employee, however, if they are a contractor they are paid for performance not time (unless time is a measure of performance under the contract).

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