Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Why NDAs Matter

23 year old digital artist Joel Butcher was recently sued for contempt of court by his employer, the Soho-based VFX house Double Negative.

Butcher, like all VFX artists working for the company, had signed an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) stating that, among other things, he would not upload confidential materials to the internet.  Unfortunately, Butcher shared some of the footage he was working on with a friend who - apparently without his knowledge - posted the footage online.

Things got worse for Butcher when, challenged by DNeg, he compounded his difficulties by lying under oath and claiming that his friend had taken the footage without his permission. This led to court proceedings in which Butcher was lucky to avoid a custodial sentence (that's prison to you and me).

The moral of the story? Studios like DNeg take the confidentiality of their clients' IP (intellectual property) very seriously. If you are lucky enough to land a job at one of the big London VFX houses, have no doubt that a signed NDA is something you mess with at your peril.

At Bucks we teach our students how to survive and thrive in the animation and VFX industry. Part of this involves understanding how contracts work, and what it really means to work in large teams of artists for big companies. It might not be immediately obvious to a junior artist why client confidentiality is so important. But to a service company like DNeg, working for a big Hollywood studio, such breaches can mean the loss of millions of dollars of work. 

To read the full story, see this article at the Daily Mail here:

For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

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