Saturday, 28 June 2008

Your Questions: The Non-Disclosure Agreement

There are some tools that every writer will become familiar with over the course of a career. In fact, a successful writer may deal with them on a regular basis. One of those was the subject of a question I received through just a few days ago:

I have been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement by someone that wants to work with me. What is a non-disclosure agreement and shoul I sign it?

A non-disclosure agreement is effectively a confidentiality agreement. Many buyers will ask you to sign one if they work with sensitive information or have a unique and innovative idea that they want to guard. For example, a guy that I work with on a regular basis is successful and has a lot of techniques and secrets that are not commonly used in the industry he works in. They contribute to his massive success and give him an advantage over the competition. As a result, it's no wonder that he wanted me to sign an agreement! It gives him peace of mind that I won't sell him out and gives me protection in that it defines the terms that we work under.

If a buyer does work with sensitive information then it is a good idea to protect yourself with an NDA, as a non-disclosure agreement is commonly known. It ensures that you cannot be accused of anything without justifiable proof and will instill a sense of confidence in the buyer. Most freelancers are more than willing to sign one if asked because it promotes trust and the buyer will more than likely employ you again if the standard of work is high.