Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are used in the entertainment industry to protect the secrecy around certain projects before they are released to the public. NDAs are usually used for films, screenplays and storylines when: 

  • The idea is completely original 
  • The party or parties have obtained approval to move ahead with the project 
  • It will be used commercially to earn a profit

However, it’s not just NDAs that can be used. Protecting privacy for creative projects is a common concern, so in this article we’ll look at a number of different ways to go about mitigating these risks.

What Is A Non-Disclosure Agreement?

A Non-Disclosure Agreement is a signed contract where one or more parties agree to refrain from revealing certain information to anyone outside the contract. 

The agreement includes:

  • Matters that are to be kept private
  • Details of the parties
  • Length of time it applies for

NDAs are used in multiple different settings for instance, to keep business information secure or ensure no details are prematurely leaked about creative projects. 

Confidentiality Agreement Vs NDA

Confidentiality Agreements and NDA agreements aim to do the same thing. They protect information that is not meant for public knowledge. 

Confidentiality agreements are generally used to protect high level information that will never be made public. For example, a producer for a film may not want their name linked to the project, therefore a confidentiality agreement can be signed. 

NDAs, on the other hand, are often used to prevent private information from being used against someone, such as a competitor

Why Is Confidentiality Important In Entertainment?

Confidentiality is key legal consideration in entertainment as it keeps your project a secret until you are ready to have them shared with the public. If someone else steals your ideas before you have had a chance to release them, it allows them to generate revenue off your ideas. 

Ultimately, this will make your idea worth less as someone has already done it before you, resulting in losses for you. 

In fact, there are a multitude of legal aspects that need to be taken into account if you are part of the entertainment industry. Social media, for example, has completely altered the ways in which we pursue entertainment. 

Youtube 

Youtube gives a platform to all types of content creators. However, it’s not as simple as shooting a video and then uploading it. There are a number of legal considerations for Youtube content creators

For example, Youtubers need to consider if they are infringing on copyrighted material, whether others may be using their original work, if their statements are defamatory to another and protecting any intellectual property.  

Example 
Sarah is a popular Youtuber. As her platform continues to grow, she decides to expand her brand by designing and releasing her own collection of merchandise. 

Sarah sketches an idea for the logo on her merchandise and asks Tom, a graphic designer, to help create her vision digitally. Tom is also employed by another Youtuber and accidentally reveals the work he’s been doing for Sarah to them. Liking Sarah’s idea, the other Youtuber copies it with minor changes and releases it before Sarah, claiming the idea as their own. 

If Sarah had taken steps to legally maintain confidentiality in her working relationship with Tom (such as a Non-Disclosure Agreement), the following scenario could have been avoided. 

What Clauses Should I Include?

Legally protecting your work in the entertainment industry can prevent any unwanted legal troubles in the future. There are a number of assets that will need protection like scripts, storylines and designs for your business. 

Confidentiality clauses are often added to agreements and contracts with people you work with, such as designers or editors who have a high level of access to your work. These clauses mean they can’t share that information with anyone else.

Confidentiality clauses are not the only means to assure privacy. There are a number of legal agreements that can be used to maintain confidentiality around creative projects. Seeking the help of a legal professional to draw up an agreement to protect your work is a great way to secure higher safeguarding. 

What Agreements Might I Need In Entertainment?

As the entertainment industry expands over a multitude of different departments, various different agreements can be utilised to afford higher protections to your work. We’ve described some of them below. 

Influencer Agreement

Utilising influencers to market products, services and events is a well known marketing tactic. However, it’s important to ensure that all parties are aware of their duties and obligations regarding the content they produce for you. 

Having an Influencer Agreement in place can make sure everyone is aware of their respective roles. Agreements are usually catered to match the needs of the specific arrangement. However, a typical Influencer Agreement can cover matters such as: 

  • Pay
  • Dates 
  • Amount of posts or content expected 
  • Exclusivity 
Example
You are releasing a film and hiring an influencer who frequently reviews movies and tv shows to watch, then gives an honest review of it. A legal professional is sought out to draft an Influencer Agreement

The agreement covers the number of posts that are dedicated to reviewing your film, the length of the post, the time in which it is expected to be completed and the pay the influencer receives for it. 

Terms & Conditions

Terms and Conditions are important in ensuring any parties you interact with are familiar with your services and obligations, as well as their own rights and responsibilities. In other words, they set out the terms that users need to agree to before they engage with your services. 

Example
You are a photographer for a major public event. A terms and services agreement will cover you for any liabilities, matters out of your control, payment, your safety and licensing for using your photographs. 

The user will need to agree to your terms before they can engage in your photography services. 

Confidentiality Clauses

Like we mentioned, Confidentiality Clauses are used in contracts to ensure information will stay private. These are more common in situations that involve highly private information. 

Example
You are directing the second series of a TV show. The first season ended on a cliffhanger and leaking any information could reduce the number of viewers for the release. 

As a result, every crew member hired on set is required to sign a  confidentiality clause in their employment contracts to maintain a level of secrecy. 

Publishing Agreement

An artist or author releasing work will need a Publishing Agreement. This will set limits on the ways in which the art can be used, giving the creator more control when releasing their work into the hands of other institutions, such as a publishing company.  

A Publishing Agreement generally includes: 

  • The amount of time a body of work is used for
  • The ways in which it can be used
  • The medium it will be published in  
  • The remuneration amount for using it 
  • Liabilities
  • Intellectual property 
  • Amount of copies made
  • Conditions
  • Termination 

Photography Consent Form

A Photography Consent Form is important if you’re in the business of photographing or taking videos of people. The form seeks the permission of people prior to posting their photo or video online for commercial or promotional purposes. 

Example
You’ve been hired to film an advertisement for a new cafe. During filming, some customers arrive and end up in some of your shots. While they are there, you explain to them what’s happening and hand them a photography consent form. 

The consent form includes the nature of your photography services, what you will be taking photos of, the purpose and where you will be posting them. 

If they consent to it, then you are able to use the shots with them in it as well as post it on your promotional pages.  

Key Takeaways

Protecting your own privacy, projects or the ways in which your work is used is imperative for all creatives working in the entertainment industry. Familiarising yourself with the key legal aspects and seeking the help of a legal professional can aid in avoiding preventable issues down the line. 

To summarise what we’ve discussed: 

  • NDAs are important if you want to keep information private
  • Confidentiality clauses should be integrated into contracts if you need to keep information from entering the public domain
  • There are multiple forms and agreements available to match your needs – consent forms, terms and conditions, publishing agreements and others

If you would like to find out more regarding legal protections or maintaining confidentiality in the entertainment industry, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

About Sprintlaw

Sprintlaw is a new type of law firm that operates completely online and on a fixed-fee basis. We’re on a mission to make quality legal services faster, simpler and more affordable for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

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