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Does asking to sign a non disclosure form make sense at all ?

Los Angeles, CA |

I want to hire a writer to write the synopsis,the treatment and the screenplay based on the widely known actual war event. I provide him with my loose notes and a story available online for reading.
1. Does it make sense to request signing the non disclosure at all ?
2.How do I protect or assume the exclusive rights to what has been written for me.
Do I need some kind of agreement or just by paying to write I will acquire the rights ?

Re:" the story available online for reading " is not a story written by me, these are just stories of a historical event and available for anyone to view.

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Attorney answers 6


If you hire an independent contractor or an employee to perform creative work, you should certainly include a proprietary information and inventions agreement, which would give you the rights to any work invented/developed by the employee/contractor in the course of your employment/engagement. These agreements can be tailored in various ways, and you should contact an attorney to draft one specific to your needs. Once you obtain a product, you can copyright it with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on as such, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal query without a comprehensive consultation and a review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. Vadim Alden is a licensed California attorney, and all answers relate to California law unless specified otherwise.


If you're hiring a writer to author a work for you, you should definitely have an agreement that clearly identifies you of the owner of the work without contingencies, that specifies all of your contemplated and possible uses of the work, and that requires the writer's assistance to secure your ownership of the intellectual property rights in the work. If you're planning on publishing the book with any publishing houses, putting this agreement in place with the writer will be a requirement as you did not 'write' the book. These are routine agreements, but you want a lawyer with publishing experience to assist you, or a document that the publishing company provides to you.

U.S. copyright law presumes that a non-employee (independent contractor) writer (a/k/a author) is the owner of the copyright in the work, and you want to refute this presumption with a written document signed by the writer. Employees are presumed to create authorship of a work in their employers, unless there is a specific agreement.

As far as entering into an NDA, you would do this to preserve the confidentiality of your story and to prevent the disclosure of your confidential information, assuming your story is confidential. A writer could conceivably conduct his own research of the events you witnessed and write a story of the events you experienced without violating an NDA (Independent discovery of non-confidential information is a defense to the breach of an NDA.). I would consider the use of an NDA for the limited purpose of precluding the writer from shopping your story to the industry people or if you didn't want anyone to know of your relationship with the author if these are concerns for you. An NDA does not establish ownership in the written story.

Good luck.

For legal advice and representation, consult an attorney. This response was provided for informational and marketing purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No communication with the author of this comment through this website can establish an attorney-client relationship, as the attorney-client relationship can only be established by the mutual understanding of its creation by both the client and the attorney, each party intending to create such a relationship.


You should consult with an entertainment attorney now so that you assure that you enter the right agreement with the writer prior to commencing the project.


I will not add to what others have said: writing a contract--and you certainly need it in writing--to protect your copyright in the work you hire--is tricky under US copyright law, but possible in the hands of a specialist.

What is trickier is protecting your recollection of events you apparently witnessed. History itself is not subject to protection by copyright or by NDA. It is not confidential because there was almost always more than one ‘player.’ But the notes you have are now copr. protected and could/should be covered by NDA.

Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-client relationship, and is not a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.


All great advice. My only add is that your knowledge is uniquely from you and worthy of protection. Seek an attorney to protect your knowledge, ideas, hopes, amd dreams.

There are too many questions to give you good answers and too much confidential information needed which you should probably not discuss in this public forum.

Feel free to contact me or any attorney here on AVVO. Most attorneys offer a free initial consulation and can probably give you guidance at no cost (and under confidentiality which you do not have in this public forum).

Good luck.

My disclaimer is simply that Avvo already has an adequate disclaimer.


Q:"1. Does it make sense to request signing the non disclosure at all ?"
A: Yes, to prevent writer from shopping around the play you pay him to write.

Q:"2.How do I protect or assume the exclusive rights to what has been written for me?"
A: By hiring the writer as an employee and having him or her sign an employee agreement. An attorney should provide such an agreement. Don't do it yourself. Otherwise, you need a copyright assignment to be certain you get exclusive rights.

Q:"Do I need some kind of agreement or just by paying to write I will acquire the rights ? "
A: Just paying won't do it. Either employee or copyright assignment, as generally nothing less is likely to be certain to give you ownership.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.