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Old 05-24-2019, 11:19 AM   #1
MargoChanning
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Default What would you do here?

Hi guys,

So a guy on one of my FB filmmakers groups reached out to me regarding one of my projects. He's an actor, mainly, but also produces. From what I could tell, he has dough.

We had a phone conversation and it seemed to go well. He offered to sign an NDA. I fired one off to him -- a very simple one -- and then I screwed up.

I was scrolling through my email and (wrongly) thought I saw the returned NDA. So I sent him the material and later, realized my mistake.

I immediately emailed him, addressed the mistake and politely asked him to forward the NDA. That was days ago. Since, he hasn't answered my follow-up emails, or a recent text. Should I be worried? Any advice? Thanks, in advance.

BTW, this is a project that was previously optioned, have a director attached, etc.
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: What would you do here?

That is a tough one. Probably not tons to worry about especially if you copyrighted it; but it is a little late now if he doesn't send it back. He's got it and without the NDA signed, I'm pretty sure you can't force anything at this point. Just hope for the best if you are truly concerned about getting a signed NDA back. Otherwise, probably not much is going to happen in a nefarious way.
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: What would you do here?

I wouldn't worry about it at all.

What could he possibly do? Further, you have a "paper trail" of your email exchange so he'd be a fool to do anything untoward with your material.
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: What would you do here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRbt View Post
I wouldn't worry about it at all.

What could he possibly do? Further, you have a "paper trail" of your email exchange so he'd be a fool to do anything untoward with your material.
i agree with this. i'm mean, why are you worried at all? he can't do anything with it and if he shows it to someone, great. more eyes on it the better.

but what i can't tell is, is it currently optioned? is the director still attached? or was it optioned and was a director attached.

if it's optioned you probably shouldn't be sending it to anyone without consent from the person that holds the option.

but otherwise, don't worry about it. he might be on vacation, he might be working, he might be sick. he might have a problem with his internet like i did a bit ago. could be any number of reasons.

you're protected under copyright law even if you didn't register the copyright, which you probably did, because it was optioned before, right?
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Old 05-24-2019, 01:11 PM   #5
MargoChanning
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Default Re: What would you do here?

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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
i agree with this. i'm mean, why are you worried at all? he can't do anything with it and if he shows it to someone, great. more eyes on it the better.

but what i can't tell is, is it currently optioned? is the director still attached? or was it optioned and was a director attached.

if it's optioned you probably shouldn't be sending it to anyone without consent from the person that holds the option.

but otherwise, don't worry about it. he might be on vacation, he might be working, he might be sick. he might have a problem with his internet like i did a bit ago. could be any number of reasons.

you're protected under copyright law even if you didn't register the copyright, which you probably did, because it was optioned before, right?
Hi. Thanks for your comment. It was optioned at one time, but the option ran out and the rights reverted back to me. So there's another paper trail, I guess, with all the emails, then.

I actually attached the director, who is still interested in being involved.

The script is out to three other prodcos, too, so we'll see. Just hope he doesn't turn out to be a d!ck.
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Old 05-24-2019, 01:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: What would you do here?

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you're protected under copyright law even if you didn't register the copyright
Let me note this just in case, for any and all; and this is something I've been told by lawyers...

By creating something with artistic value, you own a copyright to that artistic work. Yes. Sure. But, you cannot sue for copyright infringement unless you have officially registered it with the copyright office. And that's really key when you want to recoup your legal fees, get compensated for any damages, and possibly receive profits you didn't get. As I have always been told and understand it, the law requires copyright registration in order to pursue a federal copyright infringement lawsuit, which is generally brought up in a federal court. A lawyer told me the "first" thing a judge asks for when he goes into court is, "Was the material copyrighted?"

Register your scripts with the US Copyright office to fully cover yourselves. Otherwise don't complain later about it if you don't, then somehow get screwed. Better safe than sorry. Your call, though.
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: What would you do here?

I don't think I'm contradicting you, Will, but I think when they say you can't sue if you haven't registered the copyright it's really "far more difficult to sue and win, if you haven't."

What my lawyer has told me is that in a successful suit, if you've registered the copyright your legal fees will be covered over and above the statutory damages (which is what they call the cool $$$ that you get rewarded).

Otherwise, I presume you'd have to pay your attorney out of the latter.

Lawyers are busy. They want to know they're going to get paid. Proving infringement is already difficult enough, so they'll be far more likely to take on this type of action if they know their fees are legally mandated.

And from the other side's point of view, you can imagine that if you prove you have a registered copyright, and they know you have a lawyer eager to take on the suit, they'll more likely settle for some good $$$ without a long court battle. This is better for everyone.

So, not necessary/essential to register, but it's profoundly advantageous.

It's why I keep "telling" the Guild to drop their near-useless script registration process, and instead refer writers directly to the copyright registration site.

I'm sure the Guild is thrilled to get in all the money for those script registrations, but they aren't nearly as useful, or as enduring (5 years vs. life+75 years) as a copyright registration: $20 WGA vs. $35 (c). The on-line process is very similar - and you can save a template so the only thing you change are the dates and script title. (And the nice certificate they send you months later is even nicer than the WGA one.)

Maybe the Guild registration made sense in an olden-tyme, before writers remotely considered publishing their stuff (as I do) before or whether or not they're even option/sold. And certainly, for the writer-for-hire situations, I can't imagine that it's even relevant
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:40 PM   #8
MargoChanning
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Default Re: What would you do here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Done Deal Pro View Post
Let me note this just in case, for any and all; and this is something I've been told by lawyers...

By creating something with artistic value, you own a copyright to that artistic work. Yes. Sure. But, you cannot sue for copyright infringement unless you have officially registered it with the copyright office. And that's really key when you want to recoup your legal fees, get compensated for any damages, and possibly receive profits you didn't get. As I have always been told and understand it, the law requires copyright registration in order to pursue a federal copyright infringement lawsuit, which is generally brought up in a federal court. A lawyer told me the "first" thing a judge asks for when he goes into court is, "Was the material copyrighted?"

Register your scripts with the US Copyright office to fully cover yourselves. Otherwise don't complain later about it if you don't, then somehow get screwed. Better safe than sorry. Your call, though.
I forgot to say the the script is WGA registered. It may be copyrighted, as well. I'd actually have to check. Thanks.
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:46 PM   #9
MargoChanning
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Default Re: What would you do here?

It is WGA registered and copyrighted, guys.

That's the good news. The bad news is, my text to the guy bounced back.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: What would you do here?

Copyrighting your work is sufficient. I have never nor would I ever ask for anyone to sign a NDA. No offense to the poster or those who disagree, but it's a rookie move. The threat of having work stolen is close enough to zero that worrying about it is the real mistake in a situation like this. Again, just my opinion and I don't mean to upset MargoChanning.
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