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Old 05-24-2019, 07:15 PM   #11
Bono
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Default Re: What would you do here?

COPYRIGHT AND NDA AND SUCH...

I don't remember the last script I registered with WGA or copyrighted... I used to do it all the time... I have scripts I sent to myself via the mail "poor man's copyright" but after time I realized, this is never going to help me and I have too many scripts too worry about.

And so much paper trail with emails... I just stopped worrying about like 10 years ago...

I mean if it's been optioned, what better proof do you need that you created the work way before this actor ever saw it?

NDA -- Unless you're working for a Apple in the 80s or something like it now, I don't see the point of these. It's mostly used by giant corp to keep people from selling intellectual property or by the president to keep us from knowing he is a POS> But guess what -- it all leaks out and it's pointless.

For screenwriters, I don't know why one would use that. You gave the script to the guy so he could help you get it made? Doesn't he need to be able to show that to anyone? So I'm confused what the intent was.


SENDING STUFF TO PEOPLE YOU DON'T KNOW

Now this is the real issue at hand for future reference for you and others. It's scary enough sending stuff out to "real" managers and agents, when half the time we don't know who we are sending stuff too.

And then we find those craiglist ads, or facebook ads and people talking themselves up. Or people even on say Done Deal Pro. I mean the guy or gal has 200 posts and says they are a legit producer, what's to lose? Hell the nice girl we meet in nyc at starbucks, she's typing in Final Draft, she has a business cards, she seems legit. You never know. People are full of sh*t. and in creative ones, even more crazy idiots.

I'm saying there's always a risk sending material to strangers.

Now I don't know what one could do with your script other than put their own name on it, steal the idea, rewrite it and submit it as their own -- or I guess worse make a movie and give you no credit -- but why would anyone do that when they can give the writer like 1 dollar option and make it all legal?

So I'm saying, the guy is probably just full of ****. Who the hell knows what he was trying to do.

Is he off of facebook too?

I'm just confused how you knew of him and how he knew of your project and why he would do this at all...

I'm sorry to hear all this, but what I would do would be not to engage anyone like this online again unless they work for a real production company.

I want to punch this guy in the face for you, but I don't know why. And I want to shake you and say, please don't do this again. lesson learned.
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: What would you do here?

okay, so i just want to address this because writers get it wrong all the time and it's the one thing that should be understood immediately and completely as you, the writer, are creating intellectual properties that you, the writer, are protected under copyright law.

there is no such thing as "copyrighting." there is copyright protection, which is a law that covers any intellectual property once it is in a fixed form. it means that you are the copyright owner of this IP literally the very moment you 'save' the IP in a fixed form as a screenplay, outline, treatment, short story, song, on and on... your work is copyrighted, or protected by copyright law.

you "register" your copyright to provide a certified origin date. you do not pay for a copyright it is already your legal right. you are still covered by copyright law the moment you have a completed IP in fixed form, so you do not have to register your copyright, but it does help you should you ever enter a legal battle and have to prove the date of origination. registering your copyright is a convenience. you are not legally bound to register your copyright.

registration services, like what the US Copyright Office and the WGAe and WGAw provide is a "logging and warehousing" of the registered copyright. they don't even look at it. they don't read it. they just file it for future use should you, the copyright holder, need to prove an origin date. you are simply paying for a service of convenience.

when you sell your spec, you will have to sign something that allows the purchaser to then register themselves as the new copyright holder as you have sold them those rights and it shows a chain of ownership. they will register the script when it's sold. they'll ask you for your WGA or copyright number and they'll register it under their name and be issued a new registration number. from that date on you will no longer be the copyright holder.

if you do not understand copyright protection and why you should register your work with either the US Copyright Office or the WGA please, please take 5-10 minutes to learn what you should and need to know as a copyright holder if an intellectual property owner.
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: What would you do here?

> they don't even look at it. they don't read it

I'm fairly certain they do. My second last copyright was rejected by the U.S. office. I could appeal, they said, but it was $250 more and of course that wasn't going to produce a guaranteed reversal. And the only way they could have possibly known the work was uncopyrightable, for the reason they provided, was if they'd looked at the content of the file I uploaded.

As for registering (at $35 or whatever) or not, having that registration makes it far easier to PROVE you own it, and looking forward to a court case is reason enough to raid your wallet for the peace of mind.
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Old 05-25-2019, 07:10 AM   #14
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Default Re: What would you do here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoNeckJoe View Post
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.
Thatís just it. I didnít ask him. He offered. HE brought it up. So I figured, why not?
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:11 AM   #15
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Default Re: What would you do here?

Quote:
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> they don't even look at it. they don't read it

I'm fairly certain they do. My second last copyright was rejected by the U.S. office. I could appeal, they said, but it was $250 more and of course that wasn't going to produce a guaranteed reversal. And the only way they could have possibly known the work was uncopyrightable, for the reason they provided, was if they'd looked at the content of the file I uploaded.

As for registering (at $35 or whatever) or not, having that registration makes it far easier to PROVE you own it, and looking forward to a court case is reason enough to raid your wallet for the peace of mind.
Quoting myself is nonsense, but I figured you might want a further explanation. It's just that I typed this up this morning with only a minute to spare to catch the bus for my Saturday morning grocery shopping so... [And yes, I made the bus! ]

For the copyright registration (that was ultimately rejected) I was trying to copyright an anthology script (like Tales of Terror, Tales from the Crypt, etc.) that was comprised of four shorts I'd written, plus a wrap-around story to bring the total up to a tidy 90 pages. I'd not had any luck pitching the first 3 shorts, so figured I'd "compile" them into a feature. This included writing one more short (which I never did pitch to anybody) just to bulk up the feature a little bit.

It worked great: I was able to utilize four good-for-almost-nothing shorts, had a good wrap-around story, and now had a fun, full feature to pitch.

Scary Stories for a Summer Beach Party

But, the U.S. copyright office claimed I was trying to copyright an anthology, which is a no-no. They'd only have been able to know this if they'd looked at the feature file I uploaded, which had "fake book covers" for the shorts at each page where that segment began. The book covers were fake, because I'd never published them to Amazon.com as eBooks, as I do all my stuff, but the (c) office obviously thought I was trying to pass off a four separate registrations as a single one. (I think somebody here on DDPro asked about doing precisely that, to save money, for multiple features - and this is a perfect explanation of the law that forbids it)

Anyway, I could argue it, but I sure don't have the $250 appeal fee.

And I addressed it another way: I've published the shorts to Amazon separately, in addition to the anthology feature, and obtained publication copyright that way, though of course there's no official registration.

The Shorts: The Steve Garry Screenplay Collection

I could copyright registration each short, but that'd be 4x$35 and we're still dealing with a lot of money.

There likely isn't a chance in hell anybody's going to steal any of my shorts, or the anthology feature, but you see how not registering the copyright gets under my skin.

When I get rich, maybe I'll settle things properly. And I can do that, by including the past publication date in the future copyright application. This is the one way you can sort of back-date a copyright application. But for now, what I have is what I have.

I hope you enjoyed this little lesson in the vagaries of copyright registrations. It's not all cut-n'-dried, but if you don't goof up it is a pretty simple process, and the most cost effective way to secure your valuable I.P.

Last edited by catcon : 05-25-2019 at 09:46 AM. Reason: Had more to type, after coming back up from doing my laundry...
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:29 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by MargoChanning View Post
That’s just it. I didn’t ask him. He offered. HE brought it up. So I figured, why not?
To be that's a red flag in general because that legal stuff is on his mind, you know? The way our dumb idiot in chief is a huge fan of NDAs.

Again, I'm sorry, but I would move on.

Of course the detective in me might send one of my friends he doesn't know on the case and see if what info they can find out about him... but that's the movie version. Real life it's better to say "that sucks" and not think about him again.

And I say that as a person who is still mad some kid who hit him in 4th grade in a soccer handshake line. So I know how hard that is....
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:34 AM   #17
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Default Re: What would you do here?

About all the copyrighting and WGA registration stuff, I came to the conclusion it was just another way to steal money from writers. Every now and then you see someone sue like a huge TV show saying it was there idea, but I don't think many of those are valid. We've all had ideas that have become movies or TV shows. I think my friend actually knows he had an idea stolen by a bigger writer and he's a lawyer -- and he just said -- I can't sue because that would kill my career. And he knew he would have more stuff -- and he did. He's a working pro.

My point is it's paying for something we already are entitled too.

What I don't get is how in the music industry all the time musicians are sued for songs sounding like old songs and 90% of the time I barely hear it... if that happened in film land, we'd all be guilty of sounding like other movies. I just think there's only so many chords in the world, how can you not find at least one other song that sounds the same?

I hate that we live in a sue first society. It's terrible.

I think I went off topic, my bad. Sue me.
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:51 AM   #18
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Default Re: What would you do here?

PM his phone number, I'll smoke him out.
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:59 AM   #19
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Default Re: What would you do here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
...I think my friend actually knows he had an idea stolen by a bigger writer and he's a lawyer -- and he just said -- I can't sue because that would kill my career....
But it's what you can prove, not what you know. Leading to...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
About all the copyrighting and WGA registration stuff, I came to the conclusion it was just another way to steal money from writers. ... My point is it's paying for something we already are entitled too.
As we've been discussing, the copyright you have when you merely create something vs. the copyright you have when you publish it to the world (and simply querying a script isn't publishing it; I'd asked the copyright office about this) vs. registering the copyright, published or not, is significant if or when some legal issue ever arises.

Conflating I.P. registration with all the scam "consulting" services such as notes and coverage and hosting and email blitz services, including the various script "registration" services that pretend to equate with (c), isn't wise.

With regard to the latter, there's registration at the copyright office, which is recognized around the world (except maybe China ) for lifetime + 75 years etc. etc., and then there's everything else.

This includes the WGA type, and I've even seen some other sites that have a "service" for registering your scripts. (Obviously, these proprietors have figured out what easy money it is, from the gullible we, and are willing to provide the minimum value that WGA does, for doing the same thing.) Don't get fooled by them!

This is like debating the value of "insurance". Nice try to win that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
What I don't get is how in the music industry all the time musicians are sued for songs sounding like old songs and 90% of the time I barely hear it... if that happened in film land, we'd all be guilty of sounding like other movies. I just think there's only so many chords in the world, how can you not find at least one other song that sounds the same?
I do agree on this one. We should all try to put out scripts to music and we'd probably be far wealthier, and get there faster.
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:25 PM   #20
finalact4
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Default Re: What would you do here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by catcon View Post
But it's what you can prove, not what you know. Leading to...

As we've been discussing, the copyright you have when you merely create something vs. the copyright you have when you publish it to the world (and simply querying a script isn't publishing it; I'd asked the copyright office about this) vs. registering the copyright, published or not, is significant if or when some legal issue ever arises.
screenplays are never intended to be published because it's final form is a FILM not a novel to be sold in print. the 'print' is the film. a short story is protected as all written forms of stories whether it is published or not.

the WGA does not read the work. i know because i once has to prove the date of when i registered my copyright because someone here (on DDP) looked at my logline accused me a 'lifting' their idea and was able to prove that my registration predated theirs by 2 years before they even wrote theirs.

WGA is a logging and storage warehouse. they do not verify the legality or legitimacy of the registration or try to prove or disprove eligibility.

your example at the copyright office might be a different story, but what throws me off is the expense, the $250.00 that doesn't make sense at all.

the point is, regardless of whether or not you register your copyright, the law protects you. as long as you can prove your origin date. the reason a registration is valuable is because of it's convenience. it's a third party who has no vested interest in your material.

Quote:
Conflating I.P. registration with all the scam "consulting" services such as notes and coverage and hosting and email blitz services, including the various script "registration" services that pretend to equate with (c), isn't wise.

With regard to the latter, there's registration at the copyright office, which is recognized around the world (except maybe China ) for lifetime + 75 years etc. etc., and then there's everything else.


This includes the WGA type, and I've even seen some other sites that have a "service" for registering your scripts. (Obviously, these proprietors have figured out what easy money it is, from the gullible we, and are willing to provide the minimum value that WGA does, for doing the same thing.) Don't get fooled by them!
i believe the WGA is a 5 year registration. the US copyright registration is longer, if i recall correctly. the reason you use the WGA is because it is a recognized industry standard.

the bottom line, and my point really to all writers, is this is a legal right that you have and as such YOU should do the due diligence to understand at least minimally what is means.
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