Collaborate With Care: Why Every Creative Entrepreneur Should Use a Non-Disclosure Agreement

The Southern Coterie blog: "Collaborate With Care: Why Every Creative Entrepreneur Should Use a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)" by Angie Avard Turner (photo: Kathryn McCrary for The Southern Coterie and Waiting on Martha)
Whether collaborating in your office or over a glass of wine, every creative entrepreneur should be protecting themselves with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). photo: Kathryn McCrary for The Southern C and Waiting on Martha

You have probably heard it a million times…”Someone stole my idea!!” Or maybe you were the one saying it!  “I worked really hard on this, and they took it and ran with it!”  I certainly don’t want to even think that anyone reading this would every consider doing such a thing, I declare!  But, I know better.  The thought of moving forward in business or making a little extra money or getting that extra moment in the spotlight is all the temptation some folks need.  It’s true; it’s the world we live in.  So, we have to woman up and get over it!  People, business people, even business people who are our friends, do things they should not. So if ideas cannot be protected then what is a creative entrepreneur to do??  How do you discuss collaborations without speaking in riddles or feeling as though you need to leave key details out for fear of the other side “running with your idea?”  Well there is this little agreement that is the closest thing to protection that you can get for ideas.  It is called a Non-Disclosure Agreement or NDA.

What exactly is a non-disclosure agreement?  It is an agreement that is entered into by two parties at the front end of a collaboration.  Specifically, it details confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement.

So, for example, if two brands are working on a collaboration and each party needs to disclose their processes to each other to move the collaboration forward, that is something you want detailed in the non-disclosure agreement.  It creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect any type of confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets. Simply put, these types of contracts protect creatives’ non-public business information.

There are 3 types of non-disclosure agreements – unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral.  Each protects confidential business info, however, each have very different implications for the disclosing party.

Now that you know what a non-disclosure agreement is, why are they important? There are a couple of reasons why you would want to use them.


The main purpose of non-disclosure agreements is to protect your work while moving a potentially advantageous collaboration forward.  You want to take care of your creative works and ensure you are respecting another party’s creative works as well.


Having a non-disclosure agreement in place conveys a credibility to those you are working with that you take your work seriously and that you intend to protect it.  You also expect the same from anyone you collaborate with.

Now that you know what non-disclosure agreements are, you can use them with ease and confidence. The Southern C Summits and Retreats are great places to collaborate and expand your reach, but you want to make sure you’re doing it in a way that protects your business and respects other business. As with anything, if you not sure you should contact your attorney and seek his or her legal advice.


DISCLAIMER:::: The materials available in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Angie Avard Turner Law LLC, and the user or browser


Avard Turner, J.D., LL.M. View More Blog Posts from this Author

Angie Avard Turner is an attorney who exclusively represents clients in the creative arts industries including retailers, wholesalers, artists, photographers, event planners, bloggers, and other creative service providers.  She is licensed to practice law in the state of Georgia, but she is able to handle copyright and trademark issues nationally.  For more information regarding her practice, visit­­­. Angie is also the owner and creative director behind Hype Strype, a fine stationery company that caters to those who love bright colors and patterns. 

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