CREATOR TIP: The Skinny on Non-Disclosure Agreements #producer #indiefilm #filmmaking #comicbooks #filmlaw

As I wrote a few weeks ago, ideas are not protected by copyright law. So how does a filmmaker or other creative pitch an idea without fear of it being “stolen.” One solution is a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) – an agreement where the party hearing the idea agrees to keep it confidential and not exploit it without the creator’s permission.

Reality check time: a filmmaker generally does not have the leverage to make a Hollywood studio sign an NDA; however, he or she may be able to convince a smaller production company or a local advertising agency to sign one.

In order to be effective, a production company signing your NDA should agree to the following:

  • The idea is unique and valuable.
  • The idea is the filmmaker’s proprietary information.
  • The production company will keep this idea confidential.
  • The production company will not exploit the idea without permission.
  • If the production company does exploit the idea, the filmmaker will be compensated

For more on drafting NDAs, see The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers . Parts of this blog been excerpted from The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers .

© 2017 Thomas A. Crowell, Esq.

Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. ( is a partner at the law firm of Lane Sash & Larrabee, LLP. He focuses his practice on intellectual property and media law.