Here’s what happens if you violate a Marvel NDA

nick fury
via Marvel Studios

We all know that Marvel Studios runs a tight ship. The company specializes in making amazing superhero movies and keeping things secret when it comes to plot lines and characters, and they’re fairly serious about anyone sharing top-secret information. So serious, in fact, that anyone involved has to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and promise to keep things to themselves.

Now we’re getting a sense of what happens if you break the agreement (hint: it’s not fun). Comicbook.com caught up with former Marvel Studios attorney Paul Sarker to see how serious it really is.

“Legally, if you violate an NDA, you could be responsible for damages, legal damages, and potentially an injunction. If you threaten to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to release X information unless you negotiate this deal with me,’ or you could try to ransom. In that situation, the studio could sue you and say, ‘Hey judge, make sure this person doesn’t say anything because this could cause us irreparable harm,’ but that’s less likely to happen.”

Since Marvel movies bring in billions, the damages they ask for could be life shattering. However, he thinks the superhero company would probably take a more measured approach.

“The other thing you risk is the relationship, right? Let’s say you haven’t been cast and they send you a script and you’re being tested, or they send you a link to some secure site where you can get a script and you can do maybe a table read or whatever online. If you then leak that information, A) they could sue you, and B) they’re probably not going to want to work with you because you’re not someone that could be trusted. If they bring you in and give you more, they need to be able to trust you to sort of bring you in and on the team.”

Not being able to do more Marvel movies would indeed suck, but they could potentially take it a step further and not pay someone who spilled the goods.

“If you’re breaching or you’re in violation of the contract, they don’t necessarily have to pay you. So there’s a lot of risks there, but I’d say the biggest ones are alienating the relationship with the studio, because they can’t trust you. And then monetary damages.”

So what do the NDAs actually cover? Pretty much everything, Sarker said.

“They cover anything that is not public information that you get from the other side that you didn’t otherwise know or discover on your own, basically. “From the studio’s perspective, you want as broad coverage as possible, so that if there is a leak, you don’t have to argue about whether it was confidential or not.”

For more entertainment insights from Sarker, check out his weekly podcast called Better Call Paul.