Amtrak Residency – Too Good to be True?

Amtrak 147 by jazzowl2003
Amtrak 147 by jazzowl2003

So a while back, some writer tweeted about how it would be awesome to have a free train ride on Amtrak for the sole purpose of punching out words.

Amtrak saw it, and guess what? They gave the writer a free trip!

Soon Twitter (and other social media sites) were bounding with comments of “I want one too!” and “This would be awesome if this was a thing!” 

And you know, it would be awesome.

Really, what could possibly go wrong?
Really, what could possibly go wrong?

If it wasn’t going to cost you an (unexpected) arm and leg.

No one told me it cost this much!
No one told me it cost this much!

And you definitely don’t want to be left picking up the pieces of your life after you realize you not only cost yourself, but your family.

Okay, this might be a rather extreme example. And also from the 2003 anime, not Brotherhood, but it gets the point across!
Okay, this might be a rather extreme example. And also from the 2003 anime, not Brotherhood, but it gets the point across!

No, I’m not sorry for the blatant Fullmetal Alchemist love. Because the example really fits.

‘Cause you see… Amtrak is asking for way more than they’re giving in return.

6.   Grant of RightsIn 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.

Emphasis mine. But this is word-for-word the first sentence of the 6th clause of the Amtrak Residency Official Terms.

This is not the only thing they ask for when you apply for the residency, but it just might be the worst. Other expectations include: background checks, an acknowledgment that gasp Amtrak employees may come up with identical ideas to what you submit in your application.

You might like this post, too:   #ToAFutureWriter - Surviving is better than coping.

Similar ideas I can believe. I read books similar to ideas I’ve had all the time.

But identical? Seriously?

Also, you don’t have to actually be chosen for a residency for these things to apply to you. If you submit an application, you have still given up these rights to ANY of the information (or the writing sample) that you submit to them.

So, as I said on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/RebekahLoper/status/442746888526123009

Other Reading:

The Amtrak Residency: Why I Think This is a Terrible Idea for a Writer

Marriage Vows Don’t Always Last Forever. But #AmtrakResidency’s Rights to Your Work Would.

8 thoughts on “Amtrak Residency – Too Good to be True?

  1. I know that most things that sound good usually have some sort of catch to them, but it seems like all the writer related things have terrible catches. 🙁 What is it with people who attempt to take advantage of writers?

  2. brennabraaten

    I heard about the writing residency, but I had no idea about this! It makes me so sad, because the idea sounded really cool. But I guess, too good to be true, right? Also, never apologize for FMA references. 🙂

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