NVIDIA Looks to Gag Journalists with Multi-Year Blanket NDAs

ir0nw0lf

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Google translation of the post mentioned above from PCGH:

Okay, here's our opinion. It is not checked by the house lawyer because we do not have one. But now I have more than 20 years of experience with NDAs and a whole closet full of things. That must also count something.

In this context, I also refer to the two statements by the esteemed colleague Igor Wallossek of Tom's Hardware Germany ( Tomshw.de , 3D Center ) and also to the statement by Computerbase .

Question: Did PCGH sign the named NDA?
Answer: Yes

Question: Did you read the NDA thoroughly?
Answer: Yes, and we have not seen anything that means any change in handling confidential information. Most importantly, the NDA regulates what happens when we first get confidential information from Nvidia. And nothing else is regulated.

Question: Is this NDA so different from the other NDAs we usually sign?
Answer: I do not think so, no. In details certainly, but basically NDAs from other manufacturers do not look much different. There are threats of punishment everywhere, and sometimes even several years of information exclusion.

Question: But all write that you can only publish information "in favor of Nvidia".
Answer: I am not a lawyer, but I am absolutely convinced that the phrase is "unimportant". More important are the following phrases, which you just DO NOT. Use Confidential Information for Reporting. And if you just do that, then that is to the detriment of Nvidia and of course Nvidia wants to prevent that. It's not about court reporting , as Heise puts it. That's my firm conviction.

Nvidia knows this opinion too and I was promised to deal with it and, if necessary, to publish a statement from Nvidia's site. But that does not change the fact that we are not beautiful.

Question: Does the NDA affect the way PCGH tests Nvidia graphics cards in the future?
Answer: No, no way. In fact, the NDA does not prevent critical coverage, even though Heise evidently disagrees.

Question: Has PCGH ever signed NDAs?
Answer: Of course, many times already. If an NDA has serious disadvantages, we will not sign it. Especially not if the NDA does not adequately protect the signatories from those who do not sign. And if there are no advantages through the NDA, but only disadvantages. I'm not going to tell which companies or what the occasion was, because I think that's a very private and personal decision. In the end, it is important that we do not sign anything that is detrimental to the reader. And in the case of information z. For example, for new generations of GPUs, I consider it essential that we get first-hand information for the readers.

Question: If the NDA is so "normal," why did Heise not sign it and make it public?
Answer: You have to ask Heise. As I said, I do not see that the new NDA is so much different from old ones. And the practical experience of over 20 years simply shows me that standardized NDAs under US law are NEVER being eaten as hot as they are cooked anyway. Say: You do not have to take everything literally or seriously. Heise should also know that in recent years, there were always massive tensions with Nvidia.

Question: What do you think about the action of Heise?
Answer: There are sure to be many readers who find it good that a medium is against a major player in the industry. I can understand that. What I do not understand and it's a shame: If Heise really finds the new NDA so shameful and really wants to achieve something, then the way to coordinate with other media to a concerted action would have been the much larger approach. So the whole thing has a Gschmäckle for me, because Heise turns now as a martyr and all other media are the stupid.

Another final word: I am sorry that I answer now, but I discovered the Heise story only yesterday evening and I first discussed this with other parties this morning.
 

SeymourGore

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I think the biggest fear is Ampere specs. will be so close to Pascal that reviewers will give it a bad image. They just want to put out card like how Intel puts out chips with marginal gains and still have them sell.
I dunno, I think their biggest fear is anymore GPP-style leaks ruining whatever future program/agenda they want to push out for the long term. I highly doubt they've dropped the ball on their GPU tech, and are resorting to this NDA to stifle such reviews. No, if anything, I think they know they have a monster GPU lined up and are going to use that 'performance goodwill' to alleviate fears of this NDA.
 

Yakk

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Well, had to login again to give props again to Kyle, and the very few (1?) other legit sites left, for not signing that multi-year gag order, not that it was offered here apparently.

NDAs are common enough, but in this case I couldn't imagine running a legitimate impartial business with that potential dark cloud overhead which could strike down at any time with that kind of verbiage which other sites/businesses agreed to, effectively making them simply corporate PR extensions.
 

FrgMstr

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Heise is clickbaiting because anti-nv sentiment is popular, Kyle is creaming at the opportunity to shit on nvidia and every single one of who went up in arms over just another NDA are feeding the clickbait machine.
You do realize that had I signed this last year, I would not have been able to report on GPP, right? This is NOT about video card reviews. Open your eyes.

Edit: Also, I deleted your last post that included a lot of profanity and name calling, if you cannot discuss this like an adult, your account will be banned.

Edit: And this is not "just another NDA." This NDA is not product specific and has unending timelines in it. Now, I know you are have signed a hundred NDAs, just like I have in this industry, so you should know the difference.

Edit: And for what it is worth, I recently had the same issue with the EK NDA, albeit not here on the pages of HardOCP. But to call it clickbaiting is disingenuous.
 

Ieldra

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Well, had to login again to give props again to Kyle, and the very few (1?) other legit sites left, for not signing that multi-year gag order, not that it was offered here apparently.

NDAs are common enough, but in this case I couldn't imagine running a legitimate impartial business with that potential dark cloud overhead which could strike down at any time with that kind of verbiage which other sites/businesses agreed to, effectively making them simply corporate PR extensions.
A moment of silence for the martyred heroes.
 

vegeta535

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Actually that was an accurate statement. If NVIDIA releases shit. And the reviewers call them for it. It is a driving force to do better. If they were never called on releasing shit (hi intel) then they would just keep doing minor iterations.
Not really. They know they are releasing shit before releasing. They don't want to be called out so the sales don't suffer.
 

FrgMstr

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No I don't realize this would be prevent you from reporting on GPP, and neither do CB, PCGH or any other of a number of tech websites that have commented on this. I don't think you're clickbaiting i think your personal crusade against Nvidia is more important to you than the clicks. I'm in no position to sit and dispute the legalese used in the NDA, but it seems there's a consensus that the uproar is massively overblown, and I've seen nothing but stellar content from the likes of CB and PCGH and if anything it's disingenuous of you and others in this thread to try and paint them as sucking on the teat of the mean green machine.
Okie dokie. Thanks for sharing.
 

Uvaman2

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No I don't realize this would be prevent you from reporting on GPP, and neither do CB, PCGH or any other of a number of tech websites that have commented on this. I don't think you're clickbaiting i think your personal crusade against Nvidia is more important to you than the clicks. I'm in no position to sit and dispute the legalese used in the NDA, but it seems there's a consensus that the uproar is massively overblown, and I've seen nothing but stellar content from the likes of CB and PCGH and if anything it's disingenuous of you and others in this thread to try and paint them as sucking on the teat of the mean green machine.
I don't get how this can be considered overblown... It looks underblown to me. Its hard enough being a journalist, that carries enough risk already... and it has constitutional protections... But hey lets be idiots and sign an open ended agreement with no time limit and vague wording, a document which fast talking well paid lawyers will strangle you in court anytime should they feel like it... But hey overblown !/s
 

nEo717

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No I don't realize this would be prevent you from reporting on GPP, and neither do CB, PCGH or any other of a number of tech websites that have commented on this. I don't think you're clickbaiting i think your personal crusade against Nvidia is more important to you than the clicks..

After years and years of reading hardocp, no way could you sell me this is all because Kyle is on a crusade - that's crazy talk right there... Kyle has some valid points here, just as he did about GPP, you don't have to like it, hell I don't like it, but lets face it, Kyle didn't take the actions, he's simply reporting/covering the actions how he see's it, and Kyle has backed up everything he has said - Can nVidia say the same?

Edit: There's a certain amount of all this that's purely genius on nVidia's part, what great job of keeping the talk all (as much as possible) about them.
 

Ieldra

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After years and years of reading hardocp, no way could you sell me this is all because Kyle is on a crusade - that's crazy talk right there... Kyle has some valid points here, just as he did about GPP, you don't have to like it, hell I don't like it, but lets face it, Kyle didn't take the actions, he's simply reporting/covering the actions how he see's it, and Kyle has backed up everything he has said - Can nVidia say the same?
What does this even mean? Kyle has done nothing but lash out at people lately, on Twitter... Why is everyone publication out there saying the issue is overblown and this is no different than any of a number of NDAs they sign every year? Must be because they're all shills, right? Can't be because Heise is clickbaiting and Kyle wants to flog a dead horse right? Read the statements made by tech power up anandtech , toms hardware, pcgh, cb, 3dcenter and others probably at this point. This is beyond ridiculous at this point, Heise are going behaving like they're going to be made saints and Kyle is the canary in the fucking coal mine apparently
 

nEo717

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What does this even mean? Kyle has done nothing but lash out at people lately, on Twitter... Why is everyone publication out there saying the issue is overblown and this is no different than any of a number of NDAs they sign every year? Must be because they're all shills, right? Can't be because Heise is clickbaiting and Kyle wants to flog a dead horse right? Read the statements made by tech power up anandtech , toms hardware, pcgh, cb, 3dcenter and others probably at this point. This is beyond ridiculous at this point, Heise are going behaving like they're going to be made saints and Kyle is the canary in the fucking coal mine apparently
My personal opinion only here.... a good many people respect Kyle and hardocp including his methods of reviews (including all the blogging) and such - nVidia needs to put their big boy pants on, pull them up a bit, and reach out to Kyle with a real effort to have discussions in how to bring hardocp back into the loop - Maybe some proactive communications (from both parties) too.

EDIT: so to post sites who've signed the NDA and expect anyone to buy into the idea that after signing that NDA those sites would be willing to step up to say that sucks, really? That would already be NDA violation, so of course these sites are singing the NDA praises...
 

Ieldra

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My personal opinion only here.... a good many people respect Kyle and hardocp including his methods of reviews (including all the blogging) and such - nVidia needs to put their big boy pants on, pull them up a bit, and reach out to Kyle with a real effort to have discussions in how to bring hardocp back into the loop - Maybe some proactive communications (from both parties) too.
I like the reviews on H as well, it would be nice i could read them without having to look past editoralized Frontpage articles like this one making me question if I'm on the right site. Kyle trashed Polaris for being trash at launch and at the time I stated his article was far too aggressive and only serves to cause problems with AMD, which it did. No surprises there. Nvidia aren't imposing favorable reviews, they're not breaking relationship with H because of product reviews, but because H content has been vehemently anti Nvidia and there's just no incentive for them to keep sending review samples. This is more than just Nidia now, Kyle is essentially calling out the entire media for being in bed with Nvidia, and there are people in this thread talking about how NV is just trying to hide the specs of their next Gen because it's going to disappoint... Nice audience we're attracting here eh? The brightest peas in the pod
 

Meeho

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Bent the knee? This is standard practice... There's nothing abnormal here, it's just groupthink making all kinds of people jump the gun and start screaming about nvidia censorship and whatnot.

Heise is clickbaiting because anti-nv sentiment is popular, Kyle is creaming at the opportunity to shit on nvidia and every single one of who went up in arms over just another NDA are feeding the clickbait machine.

It's absurd that you jump to the conclusion that basically all of the tech media has bent the knee instead of maybe wondering if Heise is just trying to stir up shit with another nvidia controversy. Information given to the media by nvidia is confidential, news at 11.
I am very surprised that you don't see anything wrong here, with your track record regarding Nvidia posts and all.

Regarding the TPU explanation, this is my favourite bit:
"Over the years, NVIDIA has tightened its grip over product launch cycle to ensure non-signatories or violators don't have access to samples, and so the NDA cannot be interpreted as a directive to only post positive reviews (lest NVIDIA ends up killing the credibility of every launch-day review, and jeopardizing its own product launch)."
It cannot be interpreted...but it is possible...but Nvidia wouldn't do it.

LOL

Also, the bit about how criticizing them actually benefits them, so they will yotally be honest in their reviews and not violate the NDA. Totally.
 

FrgMstr

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I just deleted your last post @Ieldra and if you continue to attack other members and troll other members in this thread, you will be banned. So stay on topic.
 

Inacurate

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And yes, I was paid by Nvidia to make these posts.
No you were not, you would have been required to sign an NDA before agreeing to such terms, and would have been barred from discussing it. ;):rolleyes::ROFLMAO:

Also FYI..'the right site' is any that give the facts, which is what ALL sites should be doing, and to do that does not require an NDA to present the facts.
So...more 'transparency' from Nvidia?

To those who feel this is 'underblown', the issue is the vague and wide scope of the NDA, compared to past NDAs, which were seemingly product/technology specific.

I'm neither a lawyer nor have mounds of experiences with NDAs, however even I can see how this NDA could be used to outright prevent, hide or stifle required discussion about anti-consumer policies, because by design ANYTHING Nvidia classifies as Confidential Information, would be off limits for journalists to talk about - even including news that crops up specifically relating to other vendors, manufacturers or the like, aka policies such as GPP.

Those feeling it is overblown, I can only feel they either do not understand the full implication, or simply don't care. I haven't read many other arguments from the overblown crowd as of yet, but a ton of justifications from other sites.

This NDA reads a lot less complex than what GPP probably looks like, which if we think about for a moment.....there's still a push for the full GPP text to be released, yes?
By all accounts, if a journalists signs this they'll be barred from discussing that failed program until Nvidia discloses it to them, which will undoubtedly never happen.
 

Ieldra

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No you were not, you would have been required to sign an NDA before agreeing to such terms, and would have been barred from discussing it. ;):rolleyes::ROFLMAO:

Also FYI..'the right site' is any that give the facts, which is what ALL sites should be doing, and to do that does not require an NDA to present the facts.
So...more 'transparency' from Nvidia?

To those who feel this is 'underblown', the issue is the vague and wide scope of the NDA, compared to past NDAs, which were seemingly product/technology specific.

I'm neither a lawyer nor have mounds of experiences with NDAs, however even I can see how this NDA could be used to outright prevent, hide or stifle required discussion about anti-consumer policies, because by design ANYTHING Nvidia classifies as Confidential Information, would be off limits for journalists to talk about - even including news that crops up specifically relating to other vendors, manufacturers or the like, aka policies such as GPP.

Those feeling it is overblown, I can only feel they either do not understand the full implication, or simply don't care. I haven't read many other arguments from the overblown crowd as of yet, but a ton of justifications from other sites.

This NDA reads a lot less complex than what GPP probably looks like, which if we think about for a moment.....there's still a push for the full GPP text to be released, yes?
By all accounts, if a journalists signs this they'll be barred from discussing that failed program until Nvidia discloses it to them, which will undoubtedly never happen.
Confidential information Nvidia discloses to reviewers... This has been covered to death in the fifty million posts about this by many media outlets. I linked them above.
 

FrgMstr

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Confidential information Nvidia discloses to reviewers... This has been covered to death in the fifty million posts about this by many media outlets. I linked them above.
Let's cover GPP through your lens. I went back and asked NVIDIA for specifics on GPP. So at that time, they could have said, yes, this is what GPP is and shared all the documents with me. Now had I sighed that NDA, I would have no longer been allowed to discuss it had they said it was confidential information. See how this works?
 

Hagrid

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So basically this NDA is because of Kyle and GPP?
They do not want people questioning their rules?
 

SickBeast

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My friend who is a reviewer for another site has received the new NDA and he said it is no different from the other NDAs he has seen before. He has no problem with it.
 

Meeho

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My friend who is a reviewer for another site has received the new NDA and he said it is no different from the other NDAs he has seen before. He has no problem with it.
If he signed it, I won't take his word about anything around it.
 

SickBeast

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Well he can't talk to you about it now so......trust or not he breaks the NDA by talking to you about it.
You guys are really reaching here. Do you want to hate nvidia or something? This seems like a false alarm. My friend would have no reason to lie to me.
 

FrgMstr

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My friend who is a reviewer for another site has received the new NDA and he said it is no different from the other NDAs he has seen before. He has no problem with it.
Your friend has not seen too many NDAs as that is far and away different from any NDA I have ever seen in the graphics market. And pretty much computer hardware in general when it comes to having a relationship with a company that wants me to review its products.
 

twzTechman

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Wow - NVIDIA sinking to a new low. For those saying this is like all the other NDAs they have seen before.... REALLY! I am thinking that this is different. Weren't those for a specific product and for a specific time? This is unique in that it is all encompassing and has longterm limits. I think it is very different.

Like Kyle said, under this agreement, GPP would have never been legally revealed, and we would all be worse off. It seems to me that NVIDIA has some dirty stuff in the basement that they are trying to hide. Now my curiosity is really piqued!
 

Uvaman2

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Can anyone send this document to a lawyer and get his honest opinion ( for free?)? I bet you he will say signing this is the as being handed a granade with the pin pulled.
 

Meeho

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Fair enough You are both saying opposite things. And I'm not sure why. I trust you both actually. I don't understand the confusion. Tech power up is agreeing with my friend also. There could be more to this story.
And what do those agreeing have in common that would explain their shared positive feelings on this matter?
 

FrgMstr

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Fair enough You are both saying opposite things. And I'm not sure why. I trust you both actually. I don't understand the confusion. Tech power up is agreeing with my friend also. There could be more to this story.
As I said above, this is no big deal to "reviewers." They are NOT journalists and do not see it through that lens so I can see them thinking this is no big deal. It is not a hard thing to understand. They want their free cards to be able to get launch day clicks, and will sign whatever they need to in order to make that happen. It is that simple.
 
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Seems like Nvidia about to release a turd of a card. 1180 might not even be better then a 1080ti. They doing it on purpose cause of lack of competition.
And the 300K+ GPU's that have just been returned to them! And yet where are they? And why have the GPU prices remained well over MSRP for so long?
 

RanceJustice

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Just more and more reasons to never buy Nvidia so long as they continue this asshattery. I truly hope that AMD's GPU department (or those from another company, though Intel is no more ethical) can create competitive cards across the entire next-generation Nvidia lineup. The only way this can be changed outside of legal/judicial changes that have to happen way farther up the chain (regulations putting an end to this kind of NDA and a ton of other unethical business practices are a necessary good start, though) is for consumers to make ethics and policies a major factor in their purchases. This means simply boycotting Nvidia and encouraging others to do so (especially larger companies like PC builders etc) for this, and all the other anti-consumer, anti-competitive, and shifty stuff they do. Getting the press and "influencers" involved is also a good move, not just to get word of Nvidia's nastiness out there but to cement ethics/policies as the reason for it; even if Nvidia sees a drop in sales, they could attribute it to something else unless there is so much momentum to deflect.

Realistically, this is difficult to do when they have, in some cases like their 1080 Ti or their mobile 10-series GPUs , a better performing product. There is almost always some sort of cost involved in doing the ethical thing be it monetary or otherwise, measured against all other factors involved when making a decision. When we're talking about PC hardware, its hard to get someone to purchase a less powerful GPU for the same amount of money, but I think the current situation isn't as difficult as often presented for most buyers and it will only get easier in the future. Right now, Nvidia's lead comes from their 1080 Ti (and to some degree the Titan V, but that's an even tinier market) and AMD really doesn't have an answer to it in terms of power. So for those who absolutely need that kind of power and want to spend the money, there isn't a lot of alternative. However, there are tons of enthusiasts who don't use Ti - level cards and at the standard 1080 and below, AMD has alternatives! The Vega 64 and Vega 56 can be substituted for the 1080, 1070 Ti , and 1070 , competing well in performance all along. The RX 500 line can compete with the 1070 and 1060 on down, in the larger market of mid-grade gaming-capable GPUs.

As far as ancillary elements, AMD"s drivers seem to be at parity with Nvidia's in recent years so that old "AMD/ATI bad drivers" meme can be put to rest. Even better, AMD cards are said to age as "fine wine", growing in performance and optimizations throughout their support; conversely, Nvidia seems to do the opposite in some cases. FreeSync monitors are much more widely accessible and better priced than their GSync counterparts; part of the benefit of being an open standard. With the exception of those who specifically purchased certain GSync monitors (likely for a heftier sum) as part of Nvidia's lock-in plans, many users will have an equal or better experience with AMD in this regard. It is most unfortunate that Nvidia won't at least support FreeSync - something they could do as both the technology spec and the license would permit it - but their refusal to push their own proprietary alternative is typical Nvidia. FreeSync 2 certification will be poised to showcase those with newer features like HDR, and do so across a wider range than GSync HDR which is said to add an even heftier pricetag to already expensive monitors. AMD also has some benefits on various edge cases and specialties, such as Linux use ( Linux drivers on AMD's latest generation have been completely rewritten and are mostly open source) scientific computing ( as opposed to proprietary CUDA there is openCL and other tech preferable), and Vulkan API use. NV's 10 series does have better power draw and for some cases it is a factor, but for many (perhaps most) single or dual card users it would be unlikely to cret

Nvidia, like Intel, has used the profits from shifty tactics to make quality hardware, only to encumber it with shifty tactics and the cycle repeats. AMD provides a worthy foil and will likely only optimize further and compete better in upcoming generations. They are the underdog in terms of money and all things that influences, so they've had to make up a deficit but we've seen them capable of coming into their own with the Ryzen on the CPU side, after a decade of sub-par, non competitive products. Zen+ further showed a strong advance targeting their primary clockspeed weakness of the first generation, while Zen2 seems to be shaping up nicely and I can't wait to see what 7nm brings. GPUs have less of a gap, but they still must ramp up to close it and hopefully they will be able to do so with the changes we've seen across the company. All of this will make it easier, but it seems like whenever possible buyers should look to AMD and away from Nvidia, so long as they continue unethical policies.
 
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