Don’t fear the NDA, (Non-Disclosure Agreement)

nda.jpg    If a client asks you to sign an NDA, don’t fret, it is all a part of the business.  Non-disclosure agreements may seem a little weird at first but they are mostly harmless.  It is simply a contract between you and another party to protect a client’s confidentiality.  All you have to do when you sign an NDA is keep quiet about what you and the client discuss.  Usually you have only to keep the secret until the company makes their product or service public, nut once in a while the duration of confidentiality is permanent.  In my freelance career I have had to sign a number of NDAs for gigs.  Sometimes a company will give you no details at all until you have signed on the dotted line.  Agreeing to keep a client’s work secret is not an agreement that you will take the job, just that you won’t tell anyone about what you learn.  For example, I had a meeting with a major software company in San Francisco for some video work.  They wouldn’t tell me what I would be doing until I signed a NDA.  After that was done, the project manager was free to tell me about a new product that is scheduled to roll out.  The product is cool but I am not at liberty to tell you about until it is officially announced.  I didn’t end up taking the gig but I am still bound to keep my mouth shut.  On another occasion I was contracted to create a commercial for someone under mysterious circumstances.  I did the work with the understanding that I would take no credit, nor use the material in my own demo.  I don’t know why the client wanted this because the video was nothing untoward, but that is how they wanted it.  I agreed and got paid about fifty percent more than usual.  No sweat!

            Companies rely on Non-disclosure agreements to keep their secrets.  One editing gig I did was an in-house video for a software company that was shot during a weekend meeting.  I promised not to show anyone the work and to turn over all materials to the company rep when finished, deleting all footage and audio from my hard drive.  No problem.  I personally couldn’t tell what they were talking about on the tape.  It was all very esoteric and would only appeal to their competitors, hence the need for secrecy. 

            NDAs are similar to keeping one’s word and, frankly, just good business.  If you break the agreement, you can get sued, damage your professional reputation, and loose potential clients.  That could mean a future of eating Top Ramen for weeks on end until that next wedding gig comes around.


Wiki article about NDAs


~ by gregorysolis on April 3, 2008.

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