Legal Question in Entertainment Law in New York

NDA / Do not compete

I'm a tv producer and have an opportunity to consult for someone trying to launch a show in an area I have a lot of expertise in. They're asking me to sign an NDA / do not compete agreement. I'm reluctant to do so, I see a lot of ideas and create content for my own show and feel like I'd be exposing my self to frivolous lawsuits by signing this. Of course, I don't intend to steal any of his ideas and I'm not even developping anything for the same demographic right now. Buit that's not say I won't be developping something for the same age group down the line or even use similar elements from this show. At what point is too similar, too similar --If we both use muppets? If we both use music? hence my reluctance to sign a non-compete.


Asked on 6/23/09, 12:35 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

William Frenkel Frenkel Sukhman LLP

Re: NDA / Do not compete

You should know that these are highly negotiable agreements. Sometimes they are the price of doing business so to dismiss them out of hand can mean a lost business opportunity. On the other hand, to sign these without having them reviewed by a business lawyer is foolhardy. The reality of this situation is that if you are represented by competent counsel, you will normally have greater leverage not only with respect to the legal issues involved but also business terms. Delegating the task of negotiating these, sometimes quite contentious agreements, from principals to their agents (attorneys) often works to both parties' benefit in trying to reach a reasonable accomodation.

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Answered on 6/23/09, 10:51 pm
Randall Brett Law Office of Randall P. Brett

Re: NDA / Do not compete

NDAs and Non-Compete agreements are very common in your industry, as well as many others. They protect the disclosing party and also can protect you, too, from frivolous claims. As it is likely that the other party will not engage you as a consultant if you refuse to sign, assuming you want to do the work you will have to sign something. However, you should have an attorney review the documents first, so that you do not inadvertently give up some rights you should be retaining. I have drafted many of these agreements. If you would like to discuss your situation, feel free to call my office and schedule a conversation.

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Answered on 6/23/09, 12:46 pm
Ken Feldman Feldman Law Group

Re: NDA / Do not compete

I would need to review the agreement but my best guess is no. Unless there's some huge incentive to do so, I would not sign such an agreement. It could lead to what you fear.

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Answered on 6/23/09, 12:47 pm
Robert Evans Robert S. Evans esq.

Re: NDA / Do not compete

You have legitimate concerns. I would not sign any agreement unless it is fully reviewed by a competent entertainment/arts attorney. This may have many future ramifications ,so don't be penny wise and pound foolish.A good attorney will save you money and aggravation in the future.

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Answered on 6/23/09, 5:07 pm

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