Ask For a Release
If you have signed an NDA, and now want to be released from it, you can send a letter to the other party / their lawyers formally requesting a release and a proposal for amending the terms of the settlement.
A cover letter and an amendment document are available here for your personal use. You can use these templates, making the choices they offer, and adapt them to suit your own purpose and goals. Remember to include a copy of your original Settlement Agreement as “Schedule 1” to the Amendment.
Q: Am I permitted to ask for a release from my NDA?
A: Asking for a release is not a breach of your NDA.
Q: What is likely to be the response?
A: You should be ready to receive no reply, or a rejection of your request, which could be difficult. You should proceed only if you feel able to do so, ideally with the support of a trusted ally. However, having a record of requesting a release even if met with silence or a rejection may be important in future.
Furthermore, there are organizations that have changed their policy and released people previously bound by NDAs – for example, the BBC and NBC - even if they had to be asked several times.
Can’t Buy My Silence is encouraging those who have signed an NDA and now want out to make this request, which we hope will turn into a flood. We hope to be able to use the sheer volume of requests for release as important publicity and momentum for the campaign to change the law.
Q: Your own confidentiality
A: You should be aware that asking for the NDA to be removed from your agreement means that the other side is also released from their confidentiality obligations towards you.
If you are concerned about keeping your name secret and are concerned that the other party may disparage you or discuss the facts in your case in a way that disparages you, you can propose adding this clause back in to the agreement. The Cover Letter gives you an option to ask for this new clause (or not), and the Amendment of Terms of Settlement includes a new clause which you can include (or not) at your own discretion.
It may be a hard sell to persuade the other side to release you from the NDA but still agree to protect your privacy, but the law makes other allowances to protect victim identity (eg publication bans in criminal court) and you may be able to achieve this. Whether you want to include this request must be your own call – but the worst would be a refusal.
Q: Can I show this template Cover Letter and Amendment to a lawyer for an opinion?
A: Certainly, and since we cannot offer legal advice, only suggestions, that is a good idea if that is realistic for you. Asking a lawyer for an opinion will also mean (probably) that they want to see the NDA you signed. Many NDAs allow for that document to be shown to anyone owing you a duty of confidentiality, which would include a lawyer.
Our partner #NDAFree has shared with us their template release letter and this note and the letter are both adapted from their excellent work.