WikiLeaks Threatens Its Own Leakers With $20 Million Penalty

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange now makes his associates sign a draconian nondisclosure agreement that, among other things, asserts that the organization’s huge trove of leaked material is “solely the property of WikiLeaks,” according to a report Wednesday.
“You accept and agree that the information disclosed, or to be disclosed to you pursuant to this agreement is, by its nature, valuable proprietary commercial information,” the agreement reads, “the misuse or unauthorized disclosure of which would be likely to cause us considerable damage.”
The confidentiality agreement (.pdf), revealed by the New Statesman, imposes a penalty of 12 million British pounds– nearly $20 million — on anyone responsible for a significant leak of the organization’s unpublished material. The figure is based on a “typical open-market valuation” of WikiLeaks’ collection, the agreement claims.
Interestingly, the agreement warns that any breach is likely to cause WikiLeaks to lose the “opportunity to sell the information to other news broadcasters and publishers.”
WikiLeaks is not known to have sold any of its leaked material, though Assange has discussed the possibility in the past. The organization announced in 2008 that it was auctioning off early access to thousands of e-mails belonging to a top aide to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, but the auction ultimately fell apart.
Also protected by the agreement is “the fact and content of this agreement and all newsworthy information relating to the workings of WikiLeaks.”
The New Statesman’s copy is unsigned, so whoever leaked it might be safe from legal action by WikiLeaks.


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