It seems that one of the theme’s over the last week or so is leaked news, in this case, details of Ricoh‘s GXR Interchangeable Unit Camera System. At one of the press launches, a select group of writers were given first sight of the new camera touted as “the world’s smallest and lightest digital camera with the ability to change lens”. Yesterday, I attended a second press view, only to discover that details of the camera were already flooding cyberspace. The link to online dpreview’s article on the Ricoh GXR has the embargo time clearly shown under the title as GMT.
At the Q & A, I asked Ricoh to confirm these reports which they did. It seems that one publication put details of the GXR online the night before the 06:00 next day embargo. This happened even though journalists were asked to sign Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). Ricoh couldn’t comment further as the matter is under investigation. However, this raises, once again, the question of how and why an embargo was broken. The article was pulled down by said publication as soon as it was made aware that the embargo was still in place. I found this on the UK government site Business Link about NDAs: “Once you sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), you have entered into a legally binding contract. This allows you to share ideas with business partners while preventing them from passing this information on. Unfortunately, the contract is only as good as the person signing it. If your partner breaches the contract, you can take them to court for damages, but this might be expensive and time consuming. It can also be difficult to quantify the damages.”
This makes me wonder: who is responsible in such situations, the media publication or the journalist who publishes the story? If it is a freelance journalist who breaks an embargo, having signed a NDA, who is then responsible, the freelance? How often are NDAs enforced? And what happens when NDAs are broken? In a digital world where publishing has changed so much, especially as information can be disseminated at the push of a button, are these types of contracts viable?
Any further examples, or thoughts, are always welcome.