Non Disclosure Agreements and the Net

amd-logo-jpg.jpg Yesterday I went to an interesting AMD briefing but I can’t reveal its content, for a while, because all the journalists present had to sign a non disclosure agreement (NDA)…

While some journos will refuse, on principle, to sign all such NDAs – as an unwarranted restriction on what they can write – I don’t have a problem with clearly dated agreements that enable prior briefings. The agreement is part of an exchange – more information is presented in advance for the sake of a relatively minor time delay. (I did once refuse to sign a Microsoft NDA regarding its Media Center software, because of its overly woolly wording and very broad scope, but that’s another story…) What does become a problem – most noticeably online – is when competitors break such NDAs to ‘scoop’ the announcement. It leaves the competition looking laggardly and devalues the worth of the information you eventually share… The cat is already out of the bag, and for news that will be 90% of the interest. Online sites, where speed to market is everything, are particularly tempted. Back in the printed world, the reverse situation can be painful for magazines. Recently, for example, Electronics Weekly had to sit on a story for an extra period of time because the advance release date of the EW Digital Edition would have just breached the embargo. This prevented the inclusion of the story in the magazine itself… Online, however, things can be timed more advantageously. With the aid of time-specific publishing methods, the stories can be released with full control and precision. So, please stay covered for the particular AMD and ATI announcements later this month – the stories will be posted on the site the minute the embargo expires… AW

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