Author Topic: Puzzled  (Read 11813 times)

Offline justwrite

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2949
  • Karma: 879
    • Why A: The Blog of Lisa Amowitz
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2007, 10:25:20 PM »
Well, Aud..I'm no legal pro and given my track record in the past few weeks, I don't know if you should trust my instincts, but this sounds okay to me. You may get some money and you may also get a little bit of recognition! (Hey with the writer's strike you may get called to be a scabber for the striking writers). You'll be able to say you're published in your query letters!

Offline audal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2326
  • Karma: 718
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2007, 03:36:41 PM »
Hey JW, my lost QT-er pal!  Thanks for passing through my thread.

You might be missin' something here... I'm not gonna get any money, but the organizer of the collaboration will get any profits.  However, I don't know if I'm not absolved of being charged for whatever reason because of several of the comments Elky made. (and I think she deserves karma #101 for that).

Slowly but surely I'm arming myself for the day when this guy emails and wonders why I haven't signed.  A friend of mine is trying to track down one of the other writers for me & hopefully I'll find more writers through her.

It's absurdly complicated and doesn't deserve this much concern.  It was a tiny scene of a play.  Argh.
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline DaveKuzminski

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 134
  • Karma: 109
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2007, 05:57:40 PM »
Okay, I haven't seen any listings yet on QT for lawyers. I do know that P&E does have listings for lawyers within its Agent section (because some attorneys are also agents, so it was natural to group them together). What you need specifically is an attorney with expertise in intellectual property. There are a number of such attorneys listed in P&E who do pro bono work for writers. Look in the V page in particular under Volunteer where there should be some links to such lawyers. At least one such link goes to a page listing many such by state.

At this point, I haven't seen the contract or the short agreement that were mentioned. Even if I had, I'd still recommend asking an attorney first. Odds are that the agreements are standard, but it won't hurt to find out if you should demand any changes.

Offline audal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2326
  • Karma: 718
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2007, 06:23:31 PM »
Dave - thank you so much for your feedback.  Unfortunately, it looks like for me here in California, there's still a consultation fee.  I can't emphasize enough how little this all meant to me when I first penned this 3 page play.  It was a goof for a friend and it should've ended there.  I do not want to pay any fees for just a non-issue some 7 years later - either to consult an attorney or because a contract tricked me.  I don't even want that to be a possibility.

I wonder... is there something I could just draw up as a personal letter & send to the producer of the play that turns over authorship of my contribution to him and absolves me of absolutely everything that may come about because of publication?

Or do I need a lawyer for that, too?

Ugh.

Anyway, many thanks agin - to Dave as well as everyone else who weighed in.
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline DaveKuzminski

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 134
  • Karma: 109
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2007, 08:09:45 PM »
While I can understand you not wanting to become involved in anything that might result in excessive legalities, it's a fact of life that such matters are largely unavoidable for anyone who wants to write and be published. Even expressing your opinion in a forum such as this can get you sued. Right now, I'm being sued by an "agent" for exactly that. I think she wants one billion based on her demands from others before me. Does she have a case? Not really, but there's no way anyone can predict what a judge will decide. Of course, I'm in good company as she's named me along with Wikipedia, Writer Beware, and about ten other notables in the same suit.

So, I suggest that you consider asking an IP (intellectual property) attorney even if the attorney is in a different state. Remember, the state you're in might not be the state under which the contract is formed. Besides which, an IP attorney is sure to know more about what the contract means regardless of state and certainly more than an attorney whose specialty was in real estate (hi, Vic).   ;)

Offline audal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2326
  • Karma: 718
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2007, 08:36:27 PM »
Whoa. (breathes).

So I suddenly have the feeling I should delete this entire thread.

I have looked into the Boston Bar website (the publisher is based outside of Boston), but there's still that nagging fee thing.  I could possibly try to call a favor from a friend in Family Law and see if she can steer me somewhere.  I have also initiated a correspondence that I hope will lead me into being in touch with another of the contribuing writers, but thus far, that isn't panning out.

Basically I just feel like I'm on an island here.

You're completely right - this is just a part of the whole road to publication.  What upsets me is that I didn't choose this road.  Certainly if my own novel comes into a contract situation, I'll toss around credit cards to law firms trying to make it happen.  But I'm so bothered that no one seems to have heard of this publishing outfit.  I'm also bothered that hourly editing fees are brought up in the contract - I always thought that was a red flag, yes?

I also can't discern from the 2 agreements I put up that I am absolved of any obligations beyond signing.

And here I am whining when you (Dave), are facing an actual LAW SUIT for doing writers an actual service.  I can't even tell you how much that just troubles me from an outsiders opinion.  I spent many months taking in every detail I could from sites like yours, AQ, AAR, WB, AW, ad infinitum.  All I knew before setting off on my first queries was that I knew nothing.  Truly, it's not too hard to find those agents whose reputation glows - I feel bad that so many still get suckered in by... (whispers names so as to not be included in suit).

The very fact that I can't get a read on this publishing outfit toroubles me.  So too does the fact that there's scant mention of them on AW - the largest commnuity of helpful & watchful writers out there, no?  Granted, no one has said don't sign.  But the way I think, it seems to me that silence itself says "don't sign."

And now I'm just babbling.

Thanks again... and what, is it proper form to say Good Luck with the law suit?
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline audal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2326
  • Karma: 718
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2007, 09:01:38 PM »
Fully unable to relax & let it go, I tried alternate googles to see what I might find about this outfit.  One thing struck me when I googled a version of the woman's name... A notice she put up on a bulletin board three years ago.  Granted, I'm being paranoid... But us Geminis often can't distinguish between paranoia & caution.

Here's the link.  Does it not seem to look a bit ragged?  Isn't such language the mark of someone trying to lure an author in?  LINK: http://p202.ezboard.com/JAC-Productions-looking-for-scripts-to-promote/fenavantplaywrightsfrm11.showMessage?topicID=80.topic

I guess I just wonder what publisher's actively post HELP WANTED type notices on bulletin boards?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 09:04:05 PM by audal »
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline DaveKuzminski

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 134
  • Karma: 109
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2007, 09:35:15 PM »
Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Now I have a name and a business. The good news is that I don't have any complaints on file regarding either of them. Admittedly, it could mean that no one thought to contact P&E if there was a problem.

Now, I mentioned earlier that I hadn't seen either contract or agreement. If those were supposed to be attached in an email sent to me, then it didn't transmit. No one can respond on section numbers without knowing what those state because the sections in contracts can vary widely in number and content. Most do start off the same way, but many divert as quickly as the second section. Now if you want to send me the agreements as attachments, feel free to do so.

Just to help everyone reading this discussion, there's nothing wrong with asking about a person or business by name in a forum. The tricky part is in answering. If you're not certain because the news reveals problems, then do that with a private message or an email or an instant message in a chat room. However, when asking, you should always get to the point and state who you're asking about. That eliminates many wrong impressions and allows those with the information to give an accurate answer appropriate to the situation much quicker.

Lastly, revealing the editing cost, which I can only speculate about, does give me reason to pause and think. If there are provisions for the publisher to charge the editing to the authors, then it's not just a red flag, it's a trumpet signal for recall (advance in the direction away from the other party). However, there are some legitimate instances where such could be included as an incentive to avoid having a writer jump ship just when the work is ready to head to the presses. What's needed is a clear reading of the contract in relation to all the other sections. In other words, don't rely upon one section standing entirely on its own. It's not infrequent for one section to be modified by another such that the meaning of one might seem dangerous, but when taken in context with another section turns out only to be protection.

Offline audal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2326
  • Karma: 718
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2007, 09:45:14 PM »
Wow - thanks again!

Real quick: The agreements were attached in the very first post of this thread.  PDF files in small print at the bottom of the post.

Will post more later.  On phone.  I'm a terrible multi-tasker!

(RETURNS FROM PHONE)

OK, truth is, I'm actually glad to see that my red flag visions weren't entirely unwarranted. 

The agreements are actually located at the bottom of my initial post in this thread.  Elky/Elknutswife made some eagle-eye observations a few posts later and cited the passages that give me (or rather her, and me by extension) the most pause.

I think the very notion of sharing negative information on the web is what keeps me here as Audal instead of  :censored: .  It's not about the people here... It's that I might be recognized and perhaps flamed should I have anything rightfully scathing to say about an agent/publisher who in fact deserves the hot coals.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 10:04:43 PM by audal »
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline DaveKuzminski

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 134
  • Karma: 109
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2007, 10:31:03 PM »
Okay, I stopped when I reached the line on that first post thinking it was part of your signature. I'm much too used to receiving such information as email attachments. I should have read closer.

The first agreement treats you and the author of the majority of the work differently. You should be entitled to a percentage based on what percentage of the total is yours. Now on to the main contract.

The editing section at 4e is poorly written. This leaves it impossible to distinguish from changes initiated or demanded by the publisher from those wanted by the author(s) thus making the author(s) liable for such costs. Either write in the necessary wording to make that clear or demand that they do so.

Ooooh, a discounted rate of 5%? Sounds like they want to be another PA.

Upon reaching the royalty payments, their contract begins contradicting itself. Semi-annual payments made each quarter. Sounds like they must be magicians. Then they want the author to be responsible for maintaining and to make discrepancies known within 30 days. At this point, I'm convinced they want to be ABPG (which is just as bad as PA). Then they go on to state any termination is liable to remedies mentioned in non-existent paragraphs.

Then the publisher wants the author to front the registration fee? Oh, give me a break. Just what kind of risk is the publisher really taking? Next thing we know, we'll find out the publisher is using Lulu.

I read farther, but it only convinced me it's a lousy contract. There's even a section stating you have to pay for your attorney should you go to arbitration even though many contracts make that expense belong to the losing party. This section shows they anticipate problems and are determined not to pay out anything more than necessary when they're proven wrong.

At this point, I'd really like to know if JAC has ever published anything successfully. Unless they can show a track record of sales, I'd walk away from this deal or flip down the plexiglas case to avoid hitting the deal button and then demand something a bit more fair. Oh, what the hell. Something a lot more fair.


Offline audal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2326
  • Karma: 718
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2007, 10:42:02 PM »
A-HA!  I was feeling all proud because I was about to cite (4.e) as evidence of when you said, "If there are provisions for the publisher to charge the editing to the authors, then it's not just a red flag, it's a trumpet signal for recall..."

Dave, how can I ever repay you?  Karma?  Is that enough??

Seriously, you have fully liberated me from this silly hell.  Since I am one of maybe 10-15 writers, I'm not going to ask for any sort of contract rewording.  I'm just going to flat out say, "thank you, but after consultation with other writers, I have been advised that this particular project is not for me."

And that's pretty much all I need to say, no?

Honestly, I am grateful to arrive at this conclusion.  This has been distracting me all week.  It's not an excuse, but it's certainly cut into my psyche when I was trying to work on my own damn novel.  It should've been tossed to the back of my mind, but it always shoved itself to the forefront.

Dave, if there is a way I can repay you for your amazing help, please do not hesitate to ask!

ROUND OF APPLAUSE:  :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.

Offline Emeraldsky

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 840
  • Karma: 181
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2007, 06:01:53 AM »
Thanks from all of us Dave, for clearly the cloud over Aud has been lifted.  ;D

Sorry to hear of your legal dealings, perhaps we can all chip in some karma and wish you well. You've done a tremendous amount of service for the writing community- do let us know if we can do something for you.

Aud.. yours was a line- this is round of applause! ;D (so it's not perfect...)

 
:clap: :clap:
 :clap:                :clap:
 :clap:                          :clap:
 :clap:                          :clap:
 :clap:                :clap:
 :clap: :clap:


PS- should this thread get deleted, I'd like to keep the advice about how to stay on safe legal ground. That's excellent information that should be featured somewhere in the forum! :yes:

Offline joanjunkmail

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4046
  • Karma: 786
  • zombies ate my dingo
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2007, 06:53:38 AM »

PS- should this thread get deleted, I'd like to keep the advice about how to stay on safe legal ground. That's excellent information that should be featured somewhere in the forum! :yes:

dave, that was really great!  thanks!

emmy, the only way to stay on safe legal ground is to consult a lawyer!  dave is very helpful with this as someone who is experienced with the publishing industry, but i'll repeat what dave said at first:  get a lawyer before you sign.  he's right.
be nice to me or zombies will eat you in my novel
Proud Member of NGHS (even though I'm a pirate)

Offline Patrick

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3712
  • Karma: 3438
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2007, 08:08:12 AM »
Dave,
Thanks for helping out.  I don't know where writers would be without you.  I think we should all chip in and help pay your legal fees when these  :censored: :censored: :censored: "agents" try to sue you.

Offline audal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2326
  • Karma: 718
Re: Puzzled
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2007, 09:10:36 AM »
At this point I'm inclined to allow this thread to stay put on the boards... though I may delete the PDF agreement files, as they contain names and such.  I will of course keep them on file should anyone want to PM a request to take a look at a dreadful contract.

I slept easily last night.  This thing was for sure a big fat albatross.

Em: It looks more like a football of applause.  Or maybe that's just me trying to slide sports into the topic?

I am contemplating making Dave the only active member who has more karma than posts... That's how grateful I am.
Quillkeepers' Tavern Management: Slingin' Cocktails & Wisecracks Since Mid-August.