When companies need IT work done, they tend to go to one of three places: consultants, contractors, or freelancers. Consultants fill the gap when an organization needs to leverage their collective synergy with a quality-driven approach that focuses on delivering key objectives. Contractors are great when the only remaining solution is throwing more bodies at the problem. And freelancers, they’re perfect for companies on a budget, hoping to build their technology infrastructure ten dollars at a time.

As a freelancer, Allen G. is able to provide inexpensive (often “quick and dirty”) software to small businesses who couldn’t otherwise afford custom software. Though rewarding to some, finding work as a freelancer can be pretty difficult, especially without any formal qualifications or experience. That said, Allen was pretty excited to find an opportunity for a “big” freelancing project at a local web design shop. They were interested in talking and wanted him to sign their standard Non-Disclosure Agreement before divulging any details. 

When Allen arrived, the potential client handed him a stack of papers. It was apparently their NDA. The first page resembled something like this…

It was the first page of BitLaw.com's sample Non Discolsure Agreement, printed directly from Internet Explorer and Xeroxed with the top third of the page (presumably containing instructions on how to write an NDA) blocked out. The client mentioned that they found it on their normal source for freelance help, Rent-A-Coder. If you're not familiar with RAC, it's a great place to go if you want to get like fifty bucks for designing and building a full CMS/ accounting system/ e-commerce site.

The second page of the agreement (labeled "Page 4") had several other "standard NDA" clauses, also obviously copy-pasted from other sources. So little care had been used to build the document that section 6.3 (on "Page 2") continued into clause 2.7 (on another page labeled "Page 2"). There were frequent references to other companies -- one oddly named "COMPANY NAME" -- in the agreement. The copy-and-paste work made the agreement look less like an NDA and more like a ransom note.

It wasn't until Allen got to the last paragraph, however, that he decided the job wasn't for him. Presented in its entirety, this is the only original language in the document...

3. i agee and acknowledge that i will not backup_copies/database_copies/copies_of_files will be taking place of I understand that the site will under fedral or intranational of copy write law has no database backups limited to not including copie of files and with databse of from the site