RE: Writing Samples and Confidential/Internal Use Publications

Subject: RE: Writing Samples and Confidential/Internal Use Publications
From: "Mike Bradley" <mbradley -at- techpubs -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 8 Oct 2005 11:45:26 -0700

Another aspect of this situation is that the non-disclosure agreements
we see, whether as employees or contractors, are often unconscionably
broad, therefore unenforceable and invalid. For instance, an agreement
that binds you forever is unlikely to be enforced by any court in the
US. Likewise, one that forbids disclosing all information will not be
enforced, whereas one that defines the undisclosable information
narrowly will be.

You wrote "99% indicates confidential, proprietary, and/or internal
use only--whether it really needed it or not." So it looks like the
company abused the practice. In most jurisdictions, a court would be
unlikeley to enforce the agreement for information that didn't really
need to held confidential.

Another thing to remember is that once information has been made
public, such as by being published in a manual, shown in a PowerPoint
sales presentation, used in marketing collaterial, etc., you are no
longer bound to hold it confidential.

So ... I would recommend reading your agreement carefully then finding
out exactly what parts of it are valid and enforceable in your state.
You can ask a lawyer or do your own research on the Web; asking a
lawyer is safer, of course.

Asking your former employer to release you is risky--they will
probably just read your agreement back to you. But if you do approach
them, I wouldn't ask them what to do. Instead, I would tell them what
I plan to do and ask them to agree.

= Mike Bradley


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