CONTRACT: If the Agency sells the Project to a publisher, the Agency will be the
Agent-of- Record for the Project's income-producing duration and will irrevocably keep
15% of all the Author's income relevant to sold Project.
MEANING: "relevant to" is so vague, it could pertain to everything including your talk
CONTRACT: The due Agency commission will also pertain to all of the Project's
subsidiary rights sales, whether sold by the Agent, Author, or Publishers, unless
otherwise stated herein.
MEANING: "subsidiary" is so vague, it could pertain to the screenplay you're having
CONTRACT: In the event the Agency uses a subagent to sell foreign or film rights and
the subagent is due a commission, the Agency commission for such will be 10% and the
subagent's commission will not be more than 10%.
MEANING: Total of 20% going out for foreign rights, meaning if the book is translated
into Spanish and it is sold by a Mexican agency, JHA and the Mexican agency split 20%.
But it's not clear whether that's in addition to the 15% he's already getting. Also not clear
what hand we'll have in forging the relationship with another agency. It pretty much
gives JHA absolute freedom without telling us a thing about what's going on.
CONTRACT: The Agency will not be required to return any legitimately received
commissions should the author-Publisher contract be terminated or if the Author's work
is unacceptable to the Publisher.
MEANING: That means that if we split $100,000 advance, he gets $15,000. If the
publisher backs out, we have to pay back the advance, including JHA's $15,000. You'll
pay 65% of that; I'll pay 35% of it. JHA buys a new set of living room furniture and we
pay for it.
CONTRACT: There will be an Agency Clause in the Author-Publisher contract stating
the Agency's status, the wording of which shall be subject to Author approval.
MEANING: This leaves the contract with the publisher wide open. If JHA doesn't like
the arrangement we want, he can scotch the entire deal. The fact that we have to approve
it means something will be drafted that we haven't seen, since we don't have a publisher
yet. This bothers me, but not nearly as much as the other parts of this contract.
CONTRACT: These terms will be binding on the Author's estate in the event of his/her
CONTRACT: In the event the Author's project is placed with a publisher by the Agency,
the Agency's status herein will extend to any additional contracts between Author and
Publisher that derive from the Publisher's option clause with the Author and Publisher
that derive from the Publisher's option clause with the Author, or are clearly derivative of
the work in question.
MEANING: This is legal jibberish, which always worries me. It's used when someone
wants to bury something. The first part, down to "contracts between Author and
Publisher" means JHA gets a piece of anything we do with the publisher related to the
book. That's OK. I don't know how a publisher can have an option clause with himself
in the next phrase. The referent for "that derive" is "clause," which doesn't make sense in
the sentence. It's just a bad sentence but whatever it's really saying has to be stated in
plain, simple English.
"derivative of the work" is also very vague and could end up applying to anything.
CONTRACT: The Agency will promptly forward to the Author any moneys that the
Agency receives in behalf of the Author pending bank clearance of the funds, minus any
commissions or expense reimbursements that are due the Agency.
MEANING: I assume that means the royalties go to JHA and they pay us. That's OK, but
"promptly" should be "within 15 days."
CONTRACT: The Agency will be entitled to receive reimbursement from the Author for
the following out-of-pocket expenses (at actual cost): Manuscript/proposal copying; long
distance telephone calls or faxes; necessary overnight deliveries and messenger costs;
postage for submission of materials to publishers, foreign shipping and communications.
MEANING: This is remarkably petty. He's going to receive 15% of whatever we get and
he's going to bill us for $56 of photocopying charges or a $2.50 phone call. Come on.
Well, OK, but it's an odd way to do business.
CONTRACT: An itemized accounting and records of all such items will be maintained
by the Agency and will be shown to the Author. No significant expense events (in excess
of $50.00) will be incurred without the Author's prior knowledge and consent. The
Agency will have the option to either bill the Author for these expenses, regardless of
whether or not the Project in question is sold to a publisher, or to charge such expenses
against the Author's account.
MEANING: He's not going to take any of the risk with us for his 15%, even a couple
hundred dollars expenses. If we don't get a publisher, we owe him for his expenses. It's
just odd business behavior.
CONTRACT: Any party to this Agreement can terminate it at any time by notifying the
other party(s) in writing to that effect. However, the Agency shall remain entitled to all
commissions which may result from Agency efforts implemented prior to the termination
of this Agreement. Termination of the Agency representation of one or more Author
Projects will not imply termination of this Agreement, unless such is specifically stated in
MEANING: Even if JHA doesn't get a publisher and backs out later, but a publisher
learns about the proposal from someone who has seen the proposal JHA sent out and
offers us a deal, JHA OWNS every penny that comes out of Reconnections for the life of
the work, regardless of where it goes, regardless of why he's not involved in the effort
any more, and regardless of how long the work or any income "related to the book" or
"subsidiaries" of the book comes in. The fact that this agreement contains no time
limitations and no boundaries for JHA at all really, really concerns me.