During the query process I stumbled across that clause I thought was really off putting and it is as follows:
"I understand that Z has access to materials and ideas that may be similar to my Material in theme, idea, plot or format. I understand that I will not be entitled to compensation because of the use of any such similar or identical material if such material is created independently by Z or its clients."
Is this a typical clause for agencies? I don't recall seeing it on any other agency site and it definitely stopped my submission in its track.
"X may already have (or may in the future) independently develop a project based upon an idea or theme that is identical or similar to your material, and you acknowledge that you will have no interest or claim therein."
I can understand why you'd look at this and think "Whoa! They're saying it's ok to steal my stuff."
That is not the case.
What this clause recognizes is that ideas are more common than you think, and it's the execution of the ideas that differentiates projects.
It's not unheard of for less-than-savvy writers to think their ideas are one of a kind. We can identify these writers pretty easily: they'll often actually say they have an idea no one has heard of; they'll express concern about who sees their manuscript pages; or (my favorite so far) how we dispose of manuscript pages.
These big companies are protecting themselves from lawsuits and my guess is that they're doing this because someone sued saying "hey I sent you a query about a menage a huit and you just produced the EXACT same thing only you called it Snow White and the Seven Samurai."
There are a lot of people stealing work out there these days but it's generally not an agent or agency. We're pretty busy trying to find writers who have ideas AND execution. The folks stealing work are the ones downloading pirated ebooks or the ones taking your work, slapping on a new cover and selling it on Amazon. Or just outright plagiarizing. It's a big problem, but it's not a problem on this side of the query line.
If it really bothers you though, don't submit your work there. Peace of mind is not always rational. If it's going to make you fretful, query elsewhere. You should trust your agent to do right by you from the very start of the relationship.