We, like, every writer community got super excited about Amtrak’s Residency program. A program for writers to write and get free train rides? How awesome!
Before submitting your work anywhere or signing up for anything I always urge writers to make sure they read the official terms to make sure they are author-friendly. Most contests, especially by the ‘Big Six’ publishers and magazines typically aren’t.
So, when an author friend alerted me (thanks Lorca Damon) to Amtrak’s not so friendly Official Terms, I decided to check them out for myself.
I’ve pulled out Section 6 and cut and paste it below.
6. Grant of Rights: In submitting an Application, Applicant hereby grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy Applicant’s Application, in whole or in part, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing, and to sublicense such rights to any third parties. In addition, Applicant hereby represents that he/she has obtained the necessary rights from any persons identified in the Application (if any persons are minors, then the written consent of and grant from the minor’s parent or legal guardian); and, Applicant grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy the name, image, and/or likeness of Applicant and the names of any such persons identified in the Application for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing. For the avoidance of doubt, one’s Application will NOT be kept confidential (and, for this reason, it is recommended that the writing sample and answers to questions not contain any personally identifiable information – e.g., name or e-mail address – of Applicant.) Upon Sponsor’s request and without compensation, Applicant agrees to sign any additional documentation that Sponsor may require so as to effect, perfect or record the preceding grant of rights and/or to furnish Sponsor with written proof that he/she has secured any and all necessary third party consents relative to the Application.
Basically, it sounds like anything you submit to Amtrak (sample essay, chapter of a book, etc) they have the rights to sell, publish, use anywhere. Blogger AE Out Loud has a similar post.
After some discourse on Twitter journalist/writer Alexander Chee expressed his concerns to Amtrak.
Amtrak has also responded to authors via social media.
Hmm, I don’t know how I feel about that. I’d rather just pay for my own ticket and just keep the rights to my work.
Authors, what do you think?