Screenwriters : Copyright

Copyright

hey guys,

i have a question regarding copyrighting my works and thought that you know more stuff about this than i do.

basically, all i want to know is if http://www.copyright.gov/ is reliable and if anyone on here has had experience with that site. i hear that you have to fill out both the "Form TX" and the "Form PA" to be on the safe side.

is this a good site to copyright one's screenplay before sending it out to companies? or do you advice against http://www.copyright.gov/ and know of a better site?




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Re: Copyright

You're not going to do better than the Copyright office. Yes, they're reliable and safe and it's definitely the way to go if you want to copyright your work. (From what I understand, "Form PA" is the form to submit. Not sure what "TX" is.)

People will argue that registering a script with the WGA is the only way to go. Sure, you can go with the WGA, but they offer little more than a time stamp for your work (merely proving when you submitted that particular draft. The Copyright office affords better protection in the unlikely event that you have to go to court over someone "stealing" your script.

Something else you should do in addition to WGA and/or Copyright: Save all your notes, outlines and drafts of the script. Also keep track of who you sent your script to and when. This can go a long way in court.


Visit me at: www.JimVinesTheWriter.com

Re: Copyright

thank you so much for your reply, JimVines!

i also read that it can take 6 months for .gov to copyright your work. that's why i was also looking into this site: http://www.hollywoodscriptexpress.com/ -- they claim that they do it fast.

has anyone had any experience with hollywoodscriptexpress.com?

i was thinking of maybe registering it at .gov, but also at the .com site so i can send the script out sooner while waiting for .gov to register it as well.


If you start sitting around the campfire telling scary stories -- change our names!

Re: Copyright

The Library of Congress logs your script very soon after receiving it; it's only the acknowledgment they send you that takes several months. LOC is really the best way to go if you want to protect your script.

Visit me at: www.JimVinesTheWriter.com

Re: Copyright

Thanks again, JimVines

Seems like I don't have to worry with sending out my script to companies soon after then. If something happens, I can just go back to when LOC received my script. Or do you think I should still wait for the acknowledgment just to be on the safe side?

I apologize for bothering with these questions. I just never really concerned myself much with these kind of things.


If you start sitting around the campfire telling scary stories -- change our names!

Re: Copyright

No need to wait. Just start sending your scripts out. Also, don't be too overly concerned with script theft. Just make sure you're sending to reputable prodcos (in other words, don't send to nameless entities found on such sites as, say, CraigsList), and be sure to keep all your drafts, script notes/outlines, records of who you sent scripts to, etc. In the meantime, start working on your next script.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact me at TheWorkingScreenwriter(at)yahoo.com.

Visit me at: www.JimVinesTheWriter.com

Re: Copyright

Agreed to all the points made above. Don't over worry about theft of your script. It does happen yes, but the occurrence is quite rare. It would cost the studios more to go to court over using copyrighted material issues then it would be just purchase (or option) your script.

Many noobs confuse protecting Scripts with protecting Ideas.Some noobs will yell and bully you if you have an idea that slightly resembles theirs. Bottom line: You can't copyright ideas, and if was somehow possible movie studios would be doing it. Anyone can make a movie about a deadly asteroid or comment headed to earth; or about two friends who try to have a sexual relationship without any commitment. See a trend? You are mainly protecting the characters you created and what they do.

Even further, the biggest nightmare is for a studio to distribute a movie that looks like a cheap imitation of another recently released movie. Hence, Producers bend over backwards and pay people to research that their movie isn't like a similar one on the horizon or recently released.

Registering with the WGA is a good bet. It protects the script you created and if need be, they will go to court on your behalf. And please..please... do not put your WGA# on your title page. That is the biggest mark of a noob. No one needs your WGA number except yourself.

Re: Copyright

hey, thanks for all the replies

i've registered it at the copyright offices in D.C. in march. i hope that's safe enough


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