From the Association of Authors’ Agents, an association of British agents:
In recent years, the industry has diversified significantly. Whilst members continue to serve authors by selling rights in their work to third parties and to be paid by commission for such work, many literary agencies are now offering a wider range of services to clients than they used to and a broader framework of good practice is required.
These guidelines to which members of the AAA are required to adhere are not intended to amend or replace the terms of the Code of Practice, which remains paramount. Members are reminded that an agent has an overriding fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their client at all times.
1. Members shall clearly set out in writing their terms of business with regard to all services offered to an author, for example in a client agreement or in an addendum to an existing client agreement. Where appropriate, members shall explain clearly what services they offer, for example what processes they undertake when assisting a client to self-publish.
. . . .
4. When a member, in assisting an author to self-publish, agrees to terms with any retailer on the author’s behalf, they should first draw the author’s attention to the terms and conditions and emphasise any clauses of particular interest or relevance, for example any exclusivity requirements or pricing regulations. The member should ensure that the author understands the implications of what they are signing (and that such terms and conditions may be subject to change without notice) and what other options are available and should suggest that the client may wish to take third party advice from the Society of Authors or a lawyer.
5. When a member assists a client to self-publish, they may be required to agree to certain obligations, to make warranties and to grant certain rights to retailers or to distributors which would usually be made or granted by the author or publisher and not by his or her agent. If the member is required to make such agreements on his/her own or on the author’s behalf, he/she shall first of all draw the author’s attention to and explain the details of the proposed agreement and obtain the author’s written permission to make it. If appropriate, the member shall transfer certain of such warranties and obligations (such as that the work is not libellous) to the author by written agreement.
. . . .
11. When members assist authors to self-publish, they shall not act in any way which would prevent or deter an author from resigning from their agency on notice. The written terms for such arrangements should include reasonable provision for the author regaining control over all aspects of their self-publishing in the event of the author resigning from the agency, including provision, if the author asks for their work to be ‘un-published’ from a retail platform, for the member to serve notice to that effect without delay subject to any exclusivity period entered into with a third party with the author’s original consent. In the event of an author resigning from the agency the member shall return to the author all documents and property originally given to the member by the author and documents prepared by the member on the instruction of the author although the member is of course free to retain copies of contracts they negotiated.
. . . .
13. No member shall engage the services of a client for example as a writer-for-hire or a co-writer or co-owner of Intellectual Property or copyright, or licence rights from a client, without declaring to the client in writing any proprietary or profitable interest stemming from such an arrangement and should suggest that the client may wish to take third party legal advice prior to making any such formal agreement with the agency. If the member should have a profitable interest in a contract beyond normal commission arrangements as set out in the client agreement, then the member may not charge commission on the client’s share of the earnings from such a contract.
Link to the rest at the Association of Authors’ Agents and thanks to Diana for the tip.