Those already immersed in the world of events will be familiar with the practice of issuing non-disclosure agreements. They’re an essential part of the business to protect confidential information, ideas and specifications, as well as ensuring that certain secrets are kept under wraps until the owner of that information is ready to share it. But if you’re new to the industry, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about, which is why today we’ve decided to delve into the depths of NDAs in our latest guide.
What is a non-disclosure agreement?
A non-disclosure agreement, or NDA, is a legal contract between parties to ensure that certain information remains confidential. These are common in business as it is often essential for a party (or parties) to share information with others, before it is appropriate to be released into the public domain. It’s essentially like being asked to keep a secret, but you’re bound by law to abide by your promise.
Types of non-disclosure agreement
There are two types of NDA: one-way and mutual. A one-way NDA applies when one party is sharing confidential information, and a mutual NDA is used when both or all parties do so. These agreements can be from one person to another, or from a large number of companies to another; there isn’t really a limit on how many people can be involved within the agreement, as long as there is reason for all parties to be included.
In our case, NDAs are often used when we are working on film-sets to ensure that none of the big surprises or shock storylines reach the outside world before the film’s release date. Confidentiality agreements are also very common in our industry for a wide range of different events, and sometimes they're even needed for the pre-contract meeting before jobs are even confirmed. We know that this is often a must for many of our clients and we’re happy to comply. That’s why our event crews in London and elsewhere in the UK are fully clued-up with the rules and regulations during their initial training.
When is a non-disclosure agreement necessary?
Today, NDAs are very common and help to protect a vast amount of information. This can range from test results, customer records and meeting room conversations, to business models, new products, filming and news releases. They're the best way to ensure that no important information is leaked, and can pave the way for legal proceedings should there be any failure to comply with the agreement further down the line.
An NDA should be put in place before disclosing any confidential information. If the agreement is signed afterwards, there’s no guarantee that sensitive information hasn’t already been disclosed, which could result in big issues at a later date. It is only after all parties have agreed and signed the contract, that the legal measures are in place to protect the information.
What needs to be included in a non-disclosure agreement?
NDAs are often only a few pages long but need to be clear, detailed and accurate. Some of the key features that should not be forgotten include:
- Identification of all parties involved (including third parties such as affiliate companies, agencies etc.)
- A description of what information is confidential
- The scope of confidentiality
- Any exclusions from the agreement
- The full terms of the agreement (including the length of the agreement and terms of handling confidential data).
Agreements sometimes also include fines for failure to comply, which can arise from willingly sharing confidential information, or for failing to securely store the information. In such instances a lawyer may be involved to ensure that the appropriate level of compensation and other measures are taken.
Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes of our industry? Take a look at our ‘The Secret World of Events’ blog.