How Do I Protect My Ideas? #amwriting

Padlock Sign In Blue Glass Blocks

This week I received an email from Attorney Kathryn Goldman after I signed up to receive this Digital Artists Rip-Off Protection Report. (One I highly recommend you download)

This email contained information about idea protection and I wanted to share it.

I’ve included Kathryn’s Bio at the bottom of this post. Be sure to review it for more information about her. I’m very excited to say that she will be doing a series for me every Monday during the month of December on Book Publishing Contracts. Stay tuned for that.

Here is the email exactly as I received it.



Hi Kelly,I meet a lot of creative and entrepreneurial folks. Many people come to me with the same question:

“I’ve got this great idea that I want to turn into a [book, product, business] and I need help with it. But I’m worried that if I tell anyone about it, they’ll steal the idea from me. It’ll end up getting [published, made, built] by someone else. What can I do?”

How to share your idea and protect it at the same time is a common problem.

There is a legal document known as a Non-Disclosure Agreement that you can ask someone to sign before you share your idea with them. In that contract, they agree to keep your idea a secret, not share it, or use it.

Here is a form Non-Disclosure Agreement you can use if you find yourself in need of protecting an idea, trade secret or other sensitive business information. (Feel free to share it if you know someone who needs it.)

The problem with NDAs is that many folks won’t even consider signing them (too full of legalese), especially if you’re asking for their help for free.

If you are hiring someone to help you, an editor, a graphic designer or a vendor for example, they would probably agree to non-disclosure of your idea. Those are the kind of people you can generally trust not to take your idea in the first place. It would damage their professional reputation if they were accused of stealing someone else’s ideas.

In the early stages of a creative or business idea, if the person or company you’re dealing with will not sign a non-disclosure agreement and you still want to share with them, the key is to make sure that the people you are asking for help are trustworthy. I know that’s a hard thing to determine, but most relationships are based on trust.

So, build a relationship before you share your ideas. Know who you are working with. Trust can be stronger than a contract.​

​How would you feel about signing a non-disclosure agreement if someone came to you with  a new idea they wanted to discuss?


Kathryn Miller Goldman
Goldman & Minton, P.C. dba Charm City Legal
(410) 783-7575

Although I am a lawyer, I’m not *your* lawyer. This email is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice for you specifically.

Kathryn’s Bio:

Kathryn Goldman is a lawyer who protects writers, artists, filmmakers, and businesses from having their work and art ripped off.  As she mentions in her email, she’s not *your* attorney (so this email isn’t technically legal advice), but you’re still invited to download her Digital Artists Rip-Off Report.

Stay tuned for the series on Dissecting Book Publishing Contracts next month! Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss it!

About Kelly Abell

I am a writer, blogger, and graphic artist. My aim for you is to utilize this blog to help you improve your writing skills, and to educate you on the publishing business. If you need help with writing, want to self-publish a book and need advice, or just want to kick a story idea around to see what works best, that's what I'm here for. As I gain knowledge from editors and publishers, I will share that knowledge with you. As writers we should always strive to improve our craft and grow. A day should not pass where you haven't learned or tried something new with your writing. Many thanks to my Night Owl Friend, Lea Ellen Borg for editing my posts! Best to you and all your characters and stories. Write on, my friends...Write on.
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