The response to the NDAs in the Berklee classroom post has been pretty interesting thus far.
I have only 310 friends on Facebook and only about 1/3 are from Berklee. In a little over 24 hours the post was read by over 500 different people and most are presumably from Berklee.
The reaction was fascinating. Many people were surprised to hear about what happened in that Berklee classroom but even more of those that read were happy to have been presented with an opportunity to learn about non-disclosure agreements, something that has never been discussed in any of the course I had attended at the college.
There were of course some people that disagreed with my post. It usually had less to do with the idea of NDAs in the classroom and more with the perceived value of an idea that has yet to be executed and the desire to protect it. Some people thought the post was harsh but I don’t believe it was.
The post was not about shaming anyone. If that had been the purpose I would not have been so careful to be vague in my descriptions of the events. We had all been presented with a teachable moment.
My hope is that this post started a conversation in the Berklee community about ideas, protecting your creations, and whether or not legal documents belong in the classroom.
Personally I feel Berklee as an institution should take this time to reflect and consider if it might be sensible to enact a policy similar to that of Stanford University.
“NDAs are generally NOT permitted for class projects at Stanford. Students should not be asked to sign an NDA in order to participate in a class project, and companies should not provide any information to project-based classes if they are not willing to permit the information to be made public.” (link)
It’s good to have these conversations. Hopefully we can move forward as a more informed community and reconsider the way we share ideas and innovate.
“Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.” - Henry Ford