Author Topic: Puzzled  (Read 11694 times)

Offline audal

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Puzzled
« on: November 06, 2007, 05:31:48 PM »
Hey y'all.  I suppose in some circles this is a success story, but right now it's more of a mystery than anything else.  Get comfy - this may take a while to explain.

Several years ago, I wrote what was basically a three page play as a favor for a friend. To my surprise, her theater company selected my scene for inclusion in a larger work, and now suddenly, the producer of this compilation has found a publisher: JAC Publishing & Promotions.

To be honest, this isn't that big of a deal to me. Yet it is certainly & rightfully a big deal to the producer of the piece, a man I don't know at all, but who cares greatly about his project. Therefore, I don't want to stand in the way at all... However, the disclaimer/agreement/release I've been asked to sign puzzles me, as does the Publisher's Agreement with the author.  I'm gonna try to attach both the disclaimer I was first approached with - which I thought was a simple release form.  And then another agreement, which the producer of the project is supposed to sign.

Basically, the legalese of it all completely lost me & I have no one I can approach who might be able to translate.

Mostly I want to know what the worst thing that can happen is... Like, say, will I ever be financially obligated for any of this? Will the devil own rights to my soul? Things like that.  Kaedin actually saw something ambiguous in Paragraph 10.a.3 of the agreement that sorta scares me -- might I be on the hook for owing money?

Dave K - are you out there?  Can I bribe you with numerous karma points to help me?  I looked on your site but didn't find the outfit in question.  Truth is, I can't find much about them anywhere along the lines of their merits.  I'm mostly sure this is all on the up-and-up, but if I'm not 100% sure, well... that 1% is magnified.

Many thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 11:21:33 AM by audal »
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline joanjunkmail

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 06:28:30 PM »
aud - are you still a member of SGA?  are you currently a member of WGA?  these unions are supposed to have lawyers on staff to review things - if it's boilerplate, they'll know.

be nice to me or zombies will eat you in my novel
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Offline audal

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2007, 06:55:16 PM »
Nah, I'm wholly unaffiliated.  Good suggestion, though... only wish I could call upon it.
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline joanjunkmail

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 06:59:00 PM »
i'm a middleaged, middle class person - i don't sign a damn thing without a lawyer.  i wouldn't ask around a forum, i'd ask around a law office.
be nice to me or zombies will eat you in my novel
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Offline audal

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2007, 07:11:14 PM »
The problem with taking it to a lawyer is actually more of a stubbornness.  I could care less about this project.  I didn't care about it back when I wrote it... it was just a favor I did for a friend that's been rearing its head every so often for years.  It won't go away.  I don't even want to give this project enough weight to require a lawyer.  I shouldn't have to pay jack for this, y'know?

All in all, it's just frustrating.  I can't seem to get any answers.  This'll pass & it'll all work out, but 'til it does... growl.
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline Abigail

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2007, 12:38:52 AM »
Maybe try a law student? Or a forum for law students?

I read through it, but didn't have the time to gnaw at it.  But still, like JJM said..we aren't lawyers around here.
Literature is alive...don't strangle it with superfluous verbiage!

Offline elknutswife

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2007, 01:48:36 PM »
Hey there.  Well as the others said, I'm no lawyer, but from what I can tell, these are the sections that may cost you money:

1b, 4e, 7b, 10(2), 10(3), 10 (4), 11 (for sure, sounds like you have to pay $55 for the copyrighting), and 12e.

Most of these, with the exception of 10(3) seem minimal, dealing with whatever helping to promote the thing may cost you - and it sounds like as long as you don't want to change anything after it's gone to print, or as long as you don't want to terminate the project past a certain point you should be fine.  That huge $10,000 fee seems like it is only if you pull the plug.  I think you are safe although it does sound like you are responsible for helping promotion and that could cost you something, plus the copyright fee.  Again, I'm not a lawyer, but those are the sections that stood out to me as possible money drains.
Author with Entangled Publishing - I write historical romance as Michelle McLean and contemporary romance as Kira Archer. Also have a few non-fictions thrown in for fun :-)
kiraarcherbooks.com and michellemcleanbooks.com

Offline elknutswife

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2007, 01:51:51 PM »
p.s.  it also sounds like you will make some money, so that, even if it isn't much, could cover the copyrighting and promotion costs, so as long as you don't yank the project after signing the agreement I don't think you'd get into trouble  ;D
Author with Entangled Publishing - I write historical romance as Michelle McLean and contemporary romance as Kira Archer. Also have a few non-fictions thrown in for fun :-)
kiraarcherbooks.com and michellemcleanbooks.com

Offline audal

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2007, 02:03:02 PM »
Elky, you rock and will be getting lotsa karma.

Here's the thing, thoug - and I'm sure it's because I wasn't clear.

The longer agreement is the agreement the organizer/producer of the project must sign.  Which troubles me because the word "AUTHOR" is used regarding liabilties.  Ultimately, I think HE should be responsible for all payments and such... but the ambiguous language is what puzzles me.  He is not the AUTHOR - merely the one who's put it all together.  I don't think ANY of the other writers care AT ALL about this.  No one knew (from what I'd heard) that he'd try to publish this. 

Also, only at the request of one of the contributors did we get to look at the 4 page agreement.  We writers were simply sent the 1 page disclaimer & asked to sign it.

Basically, I just don't even know how to express my concerns/questions.  I shouldn't have to be responsible for ANYTHING... and I'm willing to sign as long as I'm aware of that. 

I'll return to this thread later, I'm sure.  Right now I have to drench you in karma.  Thank you SO much!
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline elknutswife

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2007, 02:30:58 PM »
Ooo, yeah that would make me nervous, unless he would be willing to sign an agreement releasing you and the other authors of all financial responsibility, or rewording one or both of those agreements to make it clear who is who.  Otherwise what's from stopping him from doing something stupid and sticking you with the bill.  Although if it is his name on the agreement, I would think that would make him liable.
Author with Entangled Publishing - I write historical romance as Michelle McLean and contemporary romance as Kira Archer. Also have a few non-fictions thrown in for fun :-)
kiraarcherbooks.com and michellemcleanbooks.com

Offline elknutswife

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2007, 02:31:34 PM »
(thanks for the karma shower...I like karma)   :wink:
Author with Entangled Publishing - I write historical romance as Michelle McLean and contemporary romance as Kira Archer. Also have a few non-fictions thrown in for fun :-)
kiraarcherbooks.com and michellemcleanbooks.com

Offline audal

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2007, 03:19:36 PM »
You like karma?  OK, then... here's a couple more.

Keep up the wisdom and I may yet get you to a magic number in just 24 hours!

Right now, I'm just holding onto the paperwork & seeing it I can learn more about what's going on.  I may request in an email to both the publisher and the project organizer that they provide email addresses of the other contributers so that we might discuss it amongst ourselves.  Thus far, all communications have been sent to us in the BCC field - which also worries me.  Though do I run the risk of making people nervous that I'm nervous?

Yeah, I guess I do.  Now I just need to realize that it's fine to make 'em worried.  It's also fine to fully back out, isn't it?  Of course that'll probably lead to more unwanted BS... Argh.

I fully plan on holding onto your idea of getting a separate agreement from him releasing us of all financial obligation.  I don't believe that first "disclaimer" agreement does that.

Hell, I don't really know what any of 'em do.

I haven't given you karma in a couple minutes.  I'll go do that right now.

Oh, and I'll also drop some on Abi for the law school forum idea.  I may.  It's just that I'm mighty irate that I find myself so focused on jumping through silly hoops instead of my actual novel. 

Funny how sometimes what should be hiding at the back of one's mind ends up shoving its way to the front.

And by "funny," I mean "Argh."
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline elknutswife

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2007, 07:07:09 PM »
Ahhhh, karma for the headache and here :hug:  (no lawsuits now, just a virtual pick-me-up for a pain in the butt that won't go away)   ;D   The law forum was a good idea.  I was going through my mental list of friends, and go figure, they are all writers, artists or teachers...hmmmm - oh, one doctor, but that won't help you, well maybe with the headache although I don't think he can get rid of this particular pain  ;D  I think getting a hold of the other contributors is a good idea, I'm sure at least some of them are having the same concerns, and if not, maybe they should be.  Let us know how it goes.....and look at that!  You almost got me to 100!  Kool  ;D   :koolaid:
« Last Edit: November 07, 2007, 07:09:30 PM by elknutswife »
Author with Entangled Publishing - I write historical romance as Michelle McLean and contemporary romance as Kira Archer. Also have a few non-fictions thrown in for fun :-)
kiraarcherbooks.com and michellemcleanbooks.com

Offline audal

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2007, 09:04:48 PM »
So you'll know, Elky, I pushed you up the Century Club Hill.  Congratulations on 100, you've earned it!

I'm feeling a lot more settled about it, even though I don't fully understand what the agreements might mean.  I think I just feel more equipped to ask the right questions when the need arises.  Silly.  I could be a published playright, and I'm all like PFFFT!  Don't think so!
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline elknutswife

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Re: Puzzled
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2007, 10:08:39 PM »
yes, very silly   ;D  get the details worked out, but it is really fun to see your name in print - we went to walmart the other day and my husband picked up one of the chicken soup for the soul books I'm in and found my story - it was so fun to see my name in a book that is on the shelf in an actual store....awesome feeling....and thanks for the 100  :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:  that too is an awesome feeling!! ;D
Author with Entangled Publishing - I write historical romance as Michelle McLean and contemporary romance as Kira Archer. Also have a few non-fictions thrown in for fun :-)
kiraarcherbooks.com and michellemcleanbooks.com