All this week I’ve been examining the top ten funniest self-publishing contractual clauses from competitors and dissecting what the legalese means and why it’s “funny.” I did the 10th, 9th, and 8th last week. And of course, it goes without saying that this topic of contractual clauses around Christmas is very punny. Here’s #7:
7th Funniest Clause from the Competitor’s Contract – All statements and other accountings will be conclusive, final and binding, unless you give us written notice stating the specific basis for objection within one year after the date the payment was rendered. You will not maintain any action or proceeding against us or our affiliates in respect of any disputed statement unless you commence that action or suit against us within 6 months following the date that you provide us with the written notice referred to in the immediately preceding sentence.
What it means: The amount they pay you is final, and unless you officially object to the amount within 1 year of payment, you can’t do anything about it.
Why it’s funny: Many companies have accounting clauses like this, because accounting processes require some period of time during which potential liabilities (royalties and objections) have to be carried on the books. So I understand the reasoning for this, and drawing attention to this particular clause isn’t necessarily a “slam” on this publisher. It’s just funny because, here in America, customers can object to things any time they want, and rarely do contractual clauses prevent them from doing so (since we’ve already established that almost no one reads this particular competitor’s contracts anyway).
Next time, #6…