Is it illegal to lie and say you're under an NDA?

Law Asked by SomeUserLookingForLegalHelp on December 24, 2020

Is lying about being under a non-disclosure agreement illegal?

Imagine that A manages a bunch of gaming servers online, and B keeps bugging A for information that A does not want to disclose. If A lies and says he’s under an NDA, has he violated the law?

2 Answers

Based on the [scant] information you provide, you are fine.

Your description nowhere reflects that you have a duty to disclose to that person (1) the information he is trying to gather from you, or (2) whether or not you made any arrangements/agreements with third parties. Accordingly, your false statement is not actionable.

By contrast, that person's retaliatory attempts to harm your reputation might render him liable for defamation and --depending on his method of defaming you-- possibly other torts.

Answered by Iñaki Viggers on December 24, 2020

Generally speaking, no.

Assuming your lie did not cause some "legally cognizable harm" -- as in the case of perjury, defamation, fraud -- it is almost certainly protected by the First Amendment. United States v. Alvarez, 567 U.S. 709 (2012).

Answered by bdb484 on December 24, 2020

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