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We learned yesterday that our college roommate's uncle's brother's camp friends' mother's dog-walker's daughter's babysitter's agent has a copy of the eagerly, desperately, hungrily awaiting Anderson Cooper memoir, Dispatches From the Edge. So exciting! How soon, we asked, can we take a glimpse at this delicious morsel? And then we learned the sad news: We cannot. Why not? Because everyone who has received a copy of this august tome — which, as we've heard from several sources, is neither particularly weighty nor particularly interesting — has signed a lengthy confidentiality agreement promising that they will not reveal its content to anyone. Indeed — and this is probably our favorite part — while reporters who have received a copy of the book are generously permitted to discuss the book for "reporting and/or fact checking purposes," but, unless they have HarperCollins' "express written approval," they're not allowed to do that reporting and/or fact checking with anyone other than Anderson himself. Genius!

The complete agreement — which limits to two the number of editorial staffers that may see the book, mandates that it be stored "in a secure place," and makes the publication liable for any financial loss resulting from a breach of confidentiality — is after the jump.

[Date], 2006

New York, New York, [ZIP]

Re: DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE (the "Book"), by Anderson Cooper (the "Author")

Dear [editor]:

This letter, when countersigned by you, will serve as an agreement between [publication] and HarperCollins, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, regarding the basis on which a copy of the Book [or the manuscript for the Book (the "Manuscript")] will be provided to you.

HarperCollins plans to release the Book for sale in the United State on June 6, 2006. Our publishing agreement provides that strictest confidentiality will be maintained about the contents of the Book until the Book is release for sale in the United State by HarperCollins....

We are willing to provide to you with a copy of the Book in order for you to review the book for inclusion in your magazine under the following conditions:

[Publication] acknowledges that it has been advised by HarperCollins that HarperCollins consider all of the information contained in the Book to be highly confidential information and [publication] agrees to maintain confidentiality about the contents in accordance with this letter agreement.

[Publication] agrees to keep in confidence the information disclosed by HarperCollins with respect to the Book. While preparing a review of the book, [publication] will provide the Book to no more than two members of its staff who are required to read the Book in order to prepare for and conduct the review, both of whom must sign a copy of this letter agreement. [Publication], and each individual who is provided a copy of the Book, agrees that the Book is being provided to [publication] only for the limited purpose of allowing [publication] to consider a review.

[Publication] agrees not to copy or otherwise reproduce any part of the Book except as is necessary to prepare for [and conduct] a review and/or related reporter. [Publication] further agrees to keep its copy of the Book in a secure place.

[Publication] shall not disclose or reveal any information or material about the Book to any person other than those set forth above prior to [date], except that it may disclose information or material: 1) to confirm or otherwise inquire about information or material contained in the Book for reporting and/or fact checking purposes, provided that no person other than the Author are contacted without the express written approval of HarperCollins, and/or 2) under compulsion of legal process, provided that [publication] will provide HarperCollins with a reasonable opportunity to seek protective legal treatment for the Book or other information disclosed by HarperCollins to [publication] with respect to the Book.

[Publication] acknowledges that it has been informed by HarperCollins that it would be adverse to the financial and other interest of the Author and HarperCollins if there were to be any public revelation of any information about the content of the Book or information developed by you as a result of your access to it prior to publication on June 6. Accordingly, you agree to be responsible for any loss suffered by the Author or HarperCollins, which results for your breach of the confidentiality provision of this letter.

[Publication] agrees that the willingness of HarperCollins to provide [publication] with a copy of the Book prior to the date it is released for sale in the United States by HarperCollins is sufficient consideration for the commitments made by [publication] in this letter agreement.

Please indicate your approval and acceptance of the above terms and conditions by signing, in duplicate in the space provided below.


Leslie Cohen