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WikiLeaks gags staff, threatens leakers with $20 million penalty


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange requires WikiLeaks staff to sign a confidentiality agreement that claims the organization's collection of leaked documents is "solely the property of WikiLeaks," according to a published report.

The confidentiality agreement says that unpublished documents leaked to the organization are "valuable proprietary commercial information, the misuse or unauthorized disclosure of which would be likely to cause us considerable damage."

The legal agreement was leaked to the New Statesman and published Wednesday [PDF].

Clause 5 of the confidentiality agreement imposes a penalty of 12 million British pounds, nearly $20 million, on anyone who breaches this legal gag, claiming the extraordinary penalty is based on "a typical open market valuation."

New Statesman's David Allen Green said the confidentiality agreement was a sign that WikiLeaks perceived itself as a commercial organization that intends to make a profit off the materials others leak to it.

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