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[Agency] Trident Media Group

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Cephus

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There's nothing wrong with any of that. They're just covering their butt in the event someone wants to sue them for "stealing their idea".
 

kimber9826

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I have heard of this. Trident are one of a very few agencies who do this. I never had to sign one as they did not request materials from me. They are a major agency and if theh had requested pages I would have signed it.

So clause 4 and 5 don't bother you at all? The fact that they could take the plot and use it as their own? Sorry, but this just freaks me out.
 

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So clause 4 and 5 don't bother you at all? The fact that they could take the plot and use it as their own? Sorry, but this just freaks me out.

Those clauses are not that unusual. Moreover, a plot is essentially meaningless. It's not even covered by copyright law. This is the plot of Macbeth:

A couple plot to kill hisher boss/king/father and takeover. He/she goes mad. He or she sees visions/hallucinations/hears voices urging him/her to kill competitors. A prophesy makes him/her think they are invulnerable. The child/sibling of one of the people he/she murdered ends of killing him/her.

Plot is just a sequence of events; it's the unique development and expression (the language) that makes a work unique.
 

Sage

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It probably comes from someone actually threatening to sue over a "stolen idea" when two queries crossed an agent's desk with the same-ish plot, one of which was rejected and one of which was accepted and eventually published.

If you could see how often I finish drafting a book, only to pick one off the shelf that has, not only a similar plot, but similar names, themes, symbols, etc. I nearly threw a book across the room when, on top of the similar plot and same color-coding I used for different groups, one of the characters had the exact health problem I had given the equivalent character in my book. This on a book I had just started querying.

Somebody in a similar situation who had been querying a while might accuse an agent or publisher of "stealing their work." That's why that's there.
 

byarvin

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So clause 4 and 5 don't bother you at all? The fact that they could take the plot and use it as their own? Sorry, but this just freaks me out.

Kimber, no, it doesn't bother me at all. May I suggest that you spend some quality time with a slush pile?

Plot simply isn't what makes great writing unique! I'm thinking that if your plot is too unique, it might seem strange during a submission. Try to imagine cookbooks if you will (my own specialty for many years), would a publisher rather do a really well executed book on a popular cuisine or a book (of any quality) on a cuisine that nobody's ever heard of? There are an awful lot of ways to tell a story, but not all that many worthwhile stories to tell.
 

waylander

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So clause 4 and 5 don't bother you at all? The fact that they could take the plot and use it as their own? Sorry, but this just freaks me out.

1 - There is no such thing as an original plot. If you think yours is, you have not read widely enough
2 - Execution is everything. You should do a writing group exercise where a group of authors all take the same opening paragraph and write the story then see how differently they come out.
3 - Reputable agencies do not do this (and TMG is highly reputable), their authors have more than enough ideas of their own.
 
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Fuchsia Groan

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The wording of the clause (“created independently by Trident or its clients”) tells me they are not talking about “taking your plot and using it as their own.” They are talking about not being liable for coincidental similarities that might arise. The agency contracts I’ve seen have a clause specifying that the agency is allowed to represent authors whose work might compete with your work in the marketplace. This seems like a similar proviso, ensuring the agency’s freedom to do their business, rather than any kind of rights grab. (I am not a lawyer!)

No. 5 is a little odd because material is so seldom sent in physical form these days. I suppose it also covers the accidental deletion of a file, maybe preventing you from suing because your stuff got lost in the shuffle (which does happen sometimes). But that doesn’t mean you can’t still nudge the agent and say, “Hey, what’s happening with my sub?” In a polite way after a decent interval, of course. It just means you can’t take legal action against them if they never get back to you. That’s my guess.
 

HayleyWriter

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I signed it back in January and then submitted my full manuscript. A week or so later the relevant agent offered me representation and I was sent a five-page agency agreement. I hired a publishing lawyer to review it and we agreed a few changes before I signed it. Fingers crossed it all works out.
 

PMcKnight

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IMHO unless things have changed with Trident SIGNIFICANTLY since Mark's behavior implosion I'd be wary of Trident as we don't know what sort of damage the entire scandal did to their reputation with editors and publishing houses
 

HayleyWriter

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I did wonder about that, PMcKnight, but I checked Publishers Marketplace and the agents continue to make decent deals. Mark is not my agent.
 

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