All members of the AALA agree to be bound by the following:
1. The members of the Association of American Literary Agents, Inc. are committed to the highest standard of conduct in the performance of their professional activities. While affirming the necessity and desirability of maintaining their full individuality and freedom of action, the members pledge themselves to loyal service to their clients’ business and artistic needs, and will allow no conflicts of interest that would interfere with such service. They pledge their support to the Association itself and to the principles of honorable coexistence, directness, and honesty in their relationships with their co-members. They pledge not to mislead, deceive, dupe, defraud, victimize, or subject to sexual or other abuse or harassment their clients, other members of the Association, the general public, or any person in their workplace or with whom they work or do business as a member of the Association
2. Members shall take responsible measures to protect the security and integrity of clients’ funds. Members must maintain separate bank accounts for money due their clients so that there is no commingling of clients’ and members’ funds.
Members shall deposit funds received on behalf of clients promptly upon receipt, and shall make payment of earnings due clients promptly, but in no event later than ten business days after clearance and attribution; provided however that if funds for a client are received more frequently than quarterly and if those funds do not exceed a total of $100, then payments to clients may be made quarterly, so long as when funds received exceed $100 or upon the client’s specific request, payment to the client shall be made within ten days thereafter. In all cases, members shall exercise due diligence in seeking supporting and attribution information for payments received. However, on stock and similar rights, statements of royalties and payments shall be made not later than the month following the member’s receipt, each statement and payment to cover all royalties received to the 25th day of the previous calendar month. Payments for amateur rights shall be made not less frequently than every six months.
A member’s books of account must be open to the client at all times with respect to transactions concerning the client.
If a member receives in writing a claim to funds otherwise due to a client, the member shall immediately so advise the client in writing. If the member determines that the claim is serious, and that the funds should not be remitted to the client because of the claim, the member shall proceed in accordance with the following:
For a period not to exceed ninety days, the member may deposit the funds in question into a segregated interest-bearing account pending possible resolution of the dispute. No later than the expiration of that ninety-day period, if the dispute remains unresolved and the claimants do not otherwise agree with respect to the disposition of the disputed funds, the member shall take such steps as may be necessary to deposit the funds with a court of competent jurisdiction, with appropriate notice to the claimants, so that the claimants will have an opportunity to present to that court their claims to the funds. Upon so depositing the funds, the member will have complied with the member’s obligations under this Canon of Ethics.
3. In addition to the compensation for agency services that is agreed upon between a member and a client, a member may, subject to the approval of the client, pass along charges incurred by the member on the client’s behalf, such as copyright fees, manuscript retyping, photocopies, copies of books for use in the sale of other rights, long distance calls, special messenger fees, etc. Such charges shall be made only if the client has agreed to reimburse such expenses.
4. A member shall keep each client apprised of matters entrusted to the member and shall promptly furnish such information as the client may reasonably request.
5. Members shall not represent both buyer and seller in the same transaction. Except as provided in the next sentence, a member who represents a client in the grant of rights in any property owned or controlled by the client may not accept any compensation or other payment from the acquirer of such rights, including but not limited to so-called “packaging fees,” it being understood that the member’s compensation, if any, shall be derived solely from the client.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, a member may accept (or participate in) a so-called “packaging fee” paid by an acquirer of television rights to a property owned or controlled by a client if the member:
a. fully discloses to the client at the earliest practical time the possibility that the member may be offered such a “packaging fee” which the member may choose to accept;
b. delivers to the clients at such time a copy of the Association’s statement regarding packaging and packaging fees; and
c. offers the client at such time the opportunity to arrange for other representation in the transaction.
In no event shall the member accept (or participate in) both a packaging fee and compensation from the client with respect to the transaction. For transactions subject to Writers Guild of America (WGA) jurisdiction, the regulations of the WGA shall take precedence over the requirements of this paragraph.
6. Members may not receive a secret profit in connection with any transaction involving a client. If such profit is received, the member must promptly pay over the entire amount to the client. Members may not solicit or accept any payment or other thing of value in connection with their referral of any author to any third party for any purpose, provided that the foregoing does not apply to arrangements made with a third party in connection with the disposition of rights in the work of a client of the member.
7. Members shall treat their clients’ financial affairs as private and confidential, except for information customarily disclosed to interested parties as part of the process of placing rights, as required by law, or, if agreed with the client, for other purposes.
8. The AALA believes that the practice of literary agents charging clients or potential clients for reading and evaluating literary works (including outlines, proposals, and partial or complete manuscripts) is subject to serious abuse that reflects adversely on our profession. For that reason, members may not charge clients or potential clients a fee for reading and evaluating literary works and may not benefit, directly or indirectly, from the charging for such services by any other person or entity. For the purposes of the foregoing, the term “reading and evaluating literary works” includes providing editorial services with respect to such works. The term “charge” includes any request for payment other than to cover the actual cost of returning materials.
It shall not be a violation of this paragraph 8 if a member provides an evaluation of a non-client’s material if a) any payment therefor is made directly to a charity qualified under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or to an established educational institution; b) the member shall personally create the evaluation and provide it within a reasonable time; c) the member does not in any way benefit financially from the activity; and d) the member conducts the activity in an honorable way fully consistent with the AALA Canon of Ethics.
Payments received by members from entities that operate professional writers’ conferences as compensation for their good faith participation in such conferences, which participation may include the evaluation of literary works, including payments that specifically apply to such evaluations, shall not be a violation of this paragraph 8. The provisions of the previous sentence do not apply to payments made by writers directly to members.
A qualified literary agent shall be:
(i) A person whose primary professional activity for the two years preceding application for membership in the Association has been as an author’s representative for the selling of rights in and to literary works;
(ii) The agent principally responsible for executed agreements concerning the grant of publication, translation, or performance rights to ten different literary properties, through no fewer than five executed agreements, during the 18 month period preceding application for membership; and
(iii) An agent who shall conduct his or her business in such manner as to be in compliance with an agent’s legal and fiduciary duties to the agent’s clients and such Canon of Ethics and other standards as may be adopted by the Association.
An Associate Member shall be:
This category is for those not yet meeting the above requirements: Full time employees of an agent member who do not themselves qualify for agent membership but who are actively engaged in the selling of rights to literary or dramatic properties shall be qualified to become associate members of the Association. Candidates must be willing to become full members when they qualify.
© 2020 Association of American Literary Agents, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
© 2020 Association of American Literary Agents, Inc. | All Rights Reserved.