Alas, you can't do business with the general public in 2012 (and beyond) without a Terms of Service agreement. Too many people are CSD--Common-Sense Deprived. So herewith the Horrid Legalese (presented for the first time in a font actually easy to read):

GSC Editing

a division of Galaxy Systems Corporation

Terms of Service

1. DEFINITIONS. "We", "us", "our", "GSC" and "GSC Editing" all refer to GSC Editing. "You", "your" and "client" all refer to you. "Submission", "document", "manuscript", "chapter", "work" and the plurals of these terms refer to material submitted to GSC Editing for editing or other provided services.

2. PARAGRAPH NUMBERS AND TITLES. Paragraph numbers and titles are provided for convenience and reference only; the text following the capitalized titles constitutes the actual agreement.

3. LEGAL AGE; ABILITY TO CONSENT. You warrant that you are of legal age to enter into this agreement and that you can legally consent to the agreement. If you are an emancipated minor, proof thereof must be provided. If you are acting as an agent for a business or organization, you warrant that you have the right to represent said business or organization, and you must disclose that you ARE acting as an agent.

4. ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS. GSC Editing provides its services to you, subject to these Terms of Service ("TOS"), which may be updated by GSC from time to time without notice to you. The version of the TOS that applies to any work or service done for you is the version in existence at the time of the acceptance of the work or service by GSC. For example, if you submit a chapter of a novel for editing one week, the TOS in effect for the editing of that chapter is the TOS available on the date of acceptance. If the TOS changes by the time you submit the next chapter for editing, then the updated TOS applies to said next chapter. For any use of GSC's web site,, the TOS in effect is that in effect at the time you use the site. The most recent TOS can be seen at any time the web site is available, at, or it can be requested in writing from GSC Editing's mailing address, currently Joseph M. Erhardt, GSC Editing, Drawer H, 1207 Rennie Ave, Richmond, VA 23227, by your mailing of a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

5. SERVICES PROVIDED BY GSC EDITING. GSC Editing provides for "Instructional Editing" and "Turn-key Editing" of fiction, non-fiction and technical documents. In Instructional Editing, the proofreading and editing provided by GSC is geared toward instruction in the craft of writing and may include discussions on various grammatical and writing topics; for Instructional Editing, the client often presents his or her material in stages (or chapters), and each such stage or chapter is edited and discussed before the next stage or chapter is sent. For Turn-key Editing, the client often provides a document and GSC Editing will finish it into final form, or as near to final form as practicable; no instruction or commentary may be included. GSC may also, from time to time, provide other editing services not specifically enumerated in this paragraph.

6. DOCUMENTS REFUSED BY GSC EDITING. GSC Editing will not provide editing services or ANY services for any of the following: illegal material of any kind; hard-core pornography; political screeds and tracts; religious screeds and tracts; music; poetry; comics; any visual medium; scripts and tele-plays. Whether a submitted document falls under the categories defined by this paragraph is a determination made solely by GSC, and GSC shall not be required to defend its decision or judgment in refusing any document or documents.

7. CLIENTS REFUSED BY GSC EDITING. GSC Editing may from time to time be unable to provide services to clients beyond its current client load, or GSC Editing may, in its sole determination, decide that an editing services agreement between you and GSC would not be a favorable arrangement to at least one of the parties to the agreement. Thus, GSC shall not be required to accept any or all applicants for its services, and GSC shall not be required to defend its decision or judgment in refusing any or all such services.

8. SERVICES PROVIDED ON AS-IS BASIS. GSC Editing's services and its internet site,, are provided to the client on an AS-IS and AS-AVAILABLE basis, without warranties of any kind including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. GSC shall not be liable for any and all damages, including consequential damages, that may result from your use of, or inability to use, GSC's services, even if GSC has been warned of or informed of the possibility of such damages. Some states and jurisdictions do not permit certain exclusions or limitations of warranty, and for these states and juridictions GSC's liability hereunder will be the minimum permitted by law under those states and jurisdictions. However, GSC Editing does have a "last invoice cancellation" policy as described below under "TERMINATION BY CLIENT."

9. SERVICES PROVIDED ON A WORK-FOR-HIRE BASIS. Unless otherwise agreed-to in writing, the services provided to you by GSC Editing are provided to you on a "work-for-hire" basis; this means that you retain all copyright and intellectual property rights to whatever material you present to us for editing; if you are acting as an agent for third party(ies) or if your work contains material under copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property protection by a third party(ies), those rights are retained by the respective third parties. Additionally, any editing suggestions or prose samples provided to you by GSC Editing may be used by you on an unlimited, non-exclusive basis, without attribution to GSC Editing.

10. VALUATION OF SERVICE. You are the sole judge of whether GSC Editing's services are of value to you. Should you decide that GSC's services are not of value to you, or no longer of value to you, then you are obligated to terminate the agreement. (In fact, for Instructional Editing, if GSC Editing does its job and if you apply yourself to your work, it should eventually be the case that you will no longer need GSC Editing's services, except perhaps for proofreading or turn-key editing. This is expected and there should not be any tears or misgivings when a client and GSC part ways.)

11. SUBMISSIONS BY CLIENT. For manuscripts you submit for editing or for any other service GSC may provide, you warrant the following: that the manuscript is your own work or work for which you have the legal right to submit for editing or service; if the manuscript contains material copyrighted by third parties or material which is not your or the manuscript owner's own, this material must be clearly identified. If you are submitting a technical or research or historical document, or the like, for which you need help in properly showing third-party inclusions, or help in forming footnotes, that's fine; any clear method that you use to demark third-party material will suffice to satisfy the requirements of this paragraph.

12. THIRD-PARTY CONTENTS IN SUBMITTED AND FINAL MANUSCRIPTS. If your manuscript contains third-party material that is currently under copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property protection, it is up to you to secure the right(s) to use said material. Note that current U.S. copyright law permits the limited use of others' copyrighted material under a "fair use" exception, but that the determination of what is "fair use" can be unclear and may require that you consult an attorney; this is ESPECIALLY TRUE FOR POETRY AND LYRICS. GSC Editing does NOT provide legal advice and is not an attorney or legal firm, as noted in the paragraph "NOT AN ATTORNEY OR LEGAL FIRM."

13. INDEMNIFICATION RELATED TO MISREPRESENTATION. If you misrepresent yourself in paragraph "LEGAL AGE; ABILITY TO CONSENT", or if you misrepresent material submitted to GSC Editing, as per paragraph "SUBMISSIONS BY CLIENT" or paragraph "THIRD-PARTY CONTENTS IN SUBMITTED AND FINAL MANUSCRIPTS", and damages, including consequential damages, result, then you agree to indemnify and hold GSC, its agents, heirs and assigns, harmless from any claim or demand, including reasonable attorneys' fees, made by any third party due to or arising out of your misrepresentation or out of material you submit, post, transmit or make available to GSC Editing for editing or any other service.

14. PROTECTION OF SUBMITTED MATERIAL. GSC Editing will take reasonable and ordinary care to prevent your manuscripts from exposure to unlawful third parties once said manuscripts arrive, either by post or electronic transmission, at GSC. GSC is not responsible for the failure of a manuscript to survive mailing or transmission, or for the interception of a manuscript by third parties before it arrives at GSC. Generally speaking, if a chapter of a novel gets lost or intercepted, it is hardly likely that an unlawful third party will be able to do much with it, and the risk of loss in such a situation is usually minimal. But if your manuscript is a single-submission short story or article or essay, or if it contains trade secrets or other confidential material, then GSC recommends that you send it certified or registered mail, or that you transmit it in a password-encrypted electronic file; if you do the latter, obviously do not include the password to the file in the same e-mail or message in which you send the file!

15. EXPOSURE OF SUBMITTED MATERIAL; ACTS OF GOD. GSC Editing shall not be liable for the exposure of submitted material and any and all subsequent and consequential damages that may arise from this exposure, if such exposure occurs as a result of unlawful activities by third parties or as a result of conditions or events beyond the control of GSC, or as a result of Acts of God. Additionally, upon proper presentation by proper legal authorities, including presentation of legal search warrants, material you submit may be exposed to law-enforcement or other applicable authorities.

16. TERMINATION BY CLIENT. If you decide to terminate your agreement with GSC Editing, you can do so at any time, for any reason or for no reason. If you are terminating the agreement because GSC Editing's services are, in your sole opinion, not suitable for your purposes, then you will not be required to pay your last invoice ("last invoice cancellation"), if any, up to a limit of $100.00. If you are terminating the agreement because you feel you no longer need or have use for GSC Editing's services, then no invoice cancellation applies.

17. TERMINATION BY GSC EDITING. GSC may, in its sole opinion, terminate the agreement with the client at any time, for any reason or for no reason. If GSC terminates the agreement after receiving moneys from the client but before the work paid for with said moneys is complete, then said moneys will be returned to the client; in this case, no $100.00 limit applies.

18. THIRD PARTY LINKS, REFERENCES AND RESOURCES. In e-mails, correspondence, telephone calls or other communication with the client, and on GSC's internet site,, GSC may provide information or direct links to third-party sites, references and/or resources. Your use of these links, references and/or resources is wholly at your own risk, without recourse to GSC for any and all damages, including consequential damages, that may occur as a result of your use of said links, references and/or resources. These links, references and/or resources are provided on an AS-IS, AS-AVAILABLE basis and subject to the same warranty exclusions and limitations as described in the paragraph "SERVICES PROVIDED ON AS-IS BASIS."

19. NOT AN ATTORNEY OR LEGAL FIRM. GSC Editing is not an attorney or legal firm and does not provide legal advice. GSC Editing may from time to time, in articles, e-mail, orally, or by other means, discuss legal issues generally pertaining to the writing and publishing industry. Any and all such comments or discussions are to be taken as general background information and you are NOT to rely on such commentary or discussion as legal advice. If you do rely on such commentary or discussion, you agree to hold harmless GSC Editing, its agents, heirs and assigns, from any and all damages, including consequential damages and reasonable attorneys' fees, that may result from your reliance on said commentary and discussion.

20. NOT A PUBLISHING FIRM. GSC Editing is not a market for manuscripts and provides no publishing services.

21. NOT A GUIDE TO PUBLICATION; NOT AN AGENT. GSC Editing does not provide, beyond general commentary and perhaps AS-IS references to market guides, any guidance or assistance to getting your manuscripts published. The publishing market is varied and changes constantly. If you write today's War and Peace, it may well be the next Great American Novel, but you may still have trouble getting it published. GSC Editing has nothing to do with this situation, and you must not rely on GSC Editing to find a market for your work; that's not what we do.

22. NOT AN ARCHIVE; NO BACKUP SERVICES PROVIDED. Client manuscripts are periodically purged, either by deleting from disk or other digital storage, or by shredding. Nevertheless, some client material is kept for a limited time by GSC Editing so that, e.g., a previous chapter can be quickly re-read before the editing of a client's current chapter begins. Sometimes GSC will hold all chapters of a client's work so that a final, full-manuscript reading is possible. There may also be other reasons for keeping client material, but these again will be for the benefit of the editing process, not for archival purposes. Again, GSC Editing does NOT provide archival or backup services, and you are NOT to rely on us for keeping any copies of your work. If you do rely on GSC as an archive, you agree to hold harmless GSC Editing, its agents, heirs and assigns, from any and all damages, including consequential damages, that may result from your reliance on GSC as an archive. All that said, if you do experience some sort of technical disaster, you can certainly ask us to send you copies of anything of yours that we might still have; if this requires GSC Editing to expend more than half a man-hour of effort, or if your request for copies becomes habitual, GSC may bill you for its time and cost of copying.

23. RATES. Rates for GSC's services may change at any time, without notice. If and when rates change, GSC will certainly attempt to notify current clients, but GSC is not obligated to do so. Current rates for services can be seen at whenever is available, and the current rates can also be requested in writing from GSC Editing's mailing address; see "ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS" for the address and include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

24. PAYMENT FOR SERVICES; ACCEPTANCE OF PRIOR WORK. After each editing or other service to you by GSC, GSC will provide an invoice. This invoice must be paid before your next editing or other service will be provided. Payment of each invoice will constitute an acceptance of the work GSC Editing has done under the related invoice as valid and of value to you for the stated invoice amount. That said, do review your options under the paragraph "TERMINATION BY CLIENT" and its "last invoice cancellation" option. Payment may be in cash (if paying in person; while payment in cash by mail cannot be refused, as it is "legal tender for all debts, public and private," payment in cash by mail is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED--DON'T DO IT). Payment may also be by postal money order or, for established clients, by check. GSC Editing may also provide on-line, e-mail-based or other electronic billing and payment methods. Currently, GSC Editing allows for electronic payment via PayPal®'s e-mail invoicing system, which allows for payment via credit card or PayPal accounts.

25. TERMINATION OF ALL SERVICES. Should Galaxy Systems Corporation terminate its editing services division, GSC Editing, then GSC Editing will attempt to notify all current clients, and all current client work will be deleted or shredded and all unearned monies will be refunded.

26. LAWS OF VIRGINIA. This Terms of Service agreement shall be deemed created and in effect under the laws of the State of Virginia; the laws of the State of Virginia shall be the governing law for this agreement.

27. ARBITRATION. For any and all civil matters of conflict or disagreement that may arise out this agreement, and which cannot be resolved by the parties hereto--namely you and GSC--the parties hereto hereby agree to submit to binding arbitration by a mutually-agreed-to disinterested third party familiar with the laws of the State of Virginia.

28. SEVERABILITY. Should any term or clause of this agreement be held illegal or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction, that term or clause shall be deemed removed, but all other terms and clauses shall remain in effect.

29. SURVIVABILITY. Even after the termination of this agreement, either by you or GSC, the clauses regarding misrepresentation and indemnification shall survive until made moot by the passage of any applicable statutes of limitation.

30. ENTIRE AGREEMENT. Unless otherwise agreed-to in writing, this Terms of Service agreement represents the entire agreement between you and GSC Editing.