No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Paranoia

    Why are so many people worried about someone stealing their script? Sure, it's probably happened in the history of the world but ...

    If anything is likely to be stolen it would be that incredibly original, but enough like everything else to be familar, super high concept log line.

    So be careful, don't pitch, query or let anyone know what your script is about. Lock it in a trunk, sit on the trunk, don't move and your "baby" will be safe from all those script thieves who want your "best screenplay ever written," without paying for it.

    lil-not getting off the trunk, no I think I hid it in the freezer

  • #2
    I heard once, somewhere, that if your script is indeed "that good" it would be much easier for a (legitimate) production company to option it than to steal it, as stealing it would ensure them that a good amount of money and time would be wasted in litigation should you bring a lawsuit against them. Wouldn't be worth it to 'em...they stand to make just as much if it is ultimately succesful whether they steal it or considering the risk, they might as well just option it...

    Illegitimate prodco's (or agents)...well, most likely they don't have the clout anyway...

    Just my take,


    • #3
      I write mine entirely in my head then type the whole thing out by memory when I'm ready to send it out. That way its safe and no one can steal it ...except psychics Like Tina... :eek NOOOOO!!!!!!!


      • #4
        No wonder I have clue over what your script is like...

        In comics (which often get made into flicks), at least, theft happens. Had it happen to a friend; he made the mistake of bringing character sketches, a full synop and a series overview to a meeting (comics have pitch-meetings too). For three months he called and asked for the update... "We're thinking about it, we're thinking..."

        When month #4 rolled around, he saw his character with the same plot, costume and bits of dialogue on the stands, while he never got paid a dime. And they never returned a phone call after that.

        But comics aren't movies; much harder to produce/promote/distribute. Granted. But I still like the idea of gripping-yet-general loglines...

        Then again, if things weren't in danger of being stolen, my concrete-side begs the question...

        Why is the Copyright Office and Registration via the WGA still around?


        • #5
          Well - I'm not paranoid. I'd know it if someone were trying to steal my idea! LOL! And Nem, while I already know what your idea is, I wouldn't steal it! (I can't make smiley faces work)

          Naw, seriously, I registered my screenplay and that's all I'm gonna do. I'm not worried about it. Heck, I'm the one who posted my story idea in here in hopes of getting a logline out of the deal. If someone is brazen enough to go and steal my idea then I'll write another one thats better, get more famous than them and then stunt their career growth. So there!


          • #6
            You know, Lil, I've got three uncompleted scripts that have six parties interested, and I was going to send them out, but I took someone's advice and e-mailed the people and told them I'd send them when finished, even though I've got completed U.S. Coprighted treatments. Of course, they weren't happy. I'm almost finished with them.

            So, I guess what I'm asking, anyone, is can someone like your logline enough, steal the idea and come up with their own script version before I can get mine completed? I haven't had time to send letters out yet--only received requests thus far, and I've saved all those requests and have printed them, as well--is this information useful legally? I know ideas can't be copyrighted, but should someone (folks who have contacted me) come up with a script similar to mine, could I say they stole my idea by reading a logline that specifically stated "working script", and in turn, I'd have electronic proof that they requested my script and stole my idea. Does this make sense?


            • #7
              Kosk wrote "Then again, if things weren't in danger of being stolen, my concrete-side begs the question... Why is the Copyright Office and Registration via the WGA still around?"

              Tony answers,

              Because if they weren't THEN things would definitely be in danger of being stolen. Preventative measures, my friends, preventative...that is, with the copyright office and WGA reg., legitimate prodcos gain nothing by trying to steal someone's work...Without that protection? Anarchy and theft would be commonplace!!!!


              • #8
                You know Lil, I'm glad you are so secure in your safety. Truly. And of course we "paranoids" are being ooooooh-so-silly. :rolleyes I am CERTAINLY not saying that my work is so friggin' great that hundreds of people are lurking in wait to steal it, HOWEVER, I always keep that little phrase in the back of my mind... what was it? Oh yes, "Never give a sucker an even break". And the fact that SO many people in this world think that way towards their fellow man. Cynical? Hell yes.

                "Paranoid"? No. Cautious, very.

                Because I HAVE had my stuff ripped off. I'm sure it was nowhere near as good as any of the great writing by the old-timer-experienced folk on this board, but it was *mine* and it was *damn* good -- and yes, I'll say that -- and I was quite young at the time. And I was rather heartbroken that someone got the kudos and laurels for something that I worked so hard on and meant so much to me. So, yeah, I guess I'm a little cautious. Funny, that. And its not being too scared of ever sending it out, letting it be read, etc etc, ad nauseum, overexaggeration. Its about just making sure its protected first, at least so I *personally* feel comfortable. Like I'm not gonna bombard them with my scripts when they're ready to go? Please. I may be slightly paranoid, but I am neither a coward or a fool.

                No worries. I wont be paranoid on this 'Board anymore, I'll just do as I see best.

                DoL -- sitting comfortably on the "locked chest" and raising an eyebrow.


                • #9
                  If you send them an unfinished script, it's pretty hard to claim they stole your idea, since you won't have sent them a complete story. Even if they don't steal it, you're much more likely to get some lowball offer to buy the idea, which they will then pay an established writer to write. I think you're right to finish the scripts first.


                  • #10
                    No, Swan Girl, my work is registered. And my earlier assorted writing efforts are copyrighted. I was once so silly as to feel pride at owning bona fide copyrights, made me feel like someone. I'm sorry that happened to you. I still think it's rare.

                    Plagiarism and imitation, now that's a whole 'nother matter, rampant. In fact rampantly rampant.

                    Some earnest young man on this board awhile back "hated the way this world works" because he couldn't understand why he couldn't do what he wanted with his favorite comic cum movie. He understood it, had absorbed it, could interpret it for a sequel better than anyone, it was his, too, wasn't it?

                    When was the last time there was a new story in the history of human kind? Just new takes, or viewed through what is newly hip, or it's ours, therefore special.

                    The old stories, the ageless stories will be told again and again through different lenses. So will the crap.



                    • #11
                      Intellectual property has to be the hardest thing in the world to protect.

                      What is the legal prospective on plagiarism in regards to screenplay?

                      In music, I believe it is defined by consecutive measures.
                      In patents if you can make one improvement on a preexisting device, it is eligible for patent.
                      The plus with â€story telling†is that you can take two people watching the same event and get two different perspectives.

                      How many movies have been made about twins swapping places.


                      • #12
                        Okay, so colour me confused: if your work is registered, then why are you coming down on people for being "paranoid" just for wanting to make sure they do the same? I dont think covering ones' ass just to be safe is paranoid, though I DO agree paranoia can go way too far. And I admittedly wasn't *sure* what the diff was between "copyrighted" and "registered" when I started that other thread of questioning and was looking for someone to TELL me/teach me instead of starting a whole new thread talking about how "paranoid we all were".

                        As for owning a copyright and "feeling like someone", shee-it. I dont take myself seriously enough for that. A copyright SURE as heck wont make me "someone", nor a better writer (too bad! That would make things easy). It would merely ease the slight pangs of paranoia I experience from time to time. I'm sure that when I've actually been "out there" and have submitted things for awhile and know how this game works, I'll be blase about all this crazy stuff. But I am a "newbie", at least to screenwriting, and have never claimed to be anything but. <shrug> And I totally agree with you, being ripped off like I was IS rare, but you can at least appreciate why I worry about this crap.

                        Plagiarism & imitation? hell yes, that will *always* be there. And I suppose when I stop and think about what you're saying, there is no use in "copyrighting, protecting, etc" when someone can "steal my idea" (I'll get to that point in a minute) just as easily as a finished product...

                        And for the "stealing ideas" theory. Yeah, sure, its all been said and done and the same stories are told millenium after millenium, BUT: I *do* think there are still new and novel twists on telling those same neverending stories. And I *do* think there are people out there who bring us totally new ways of looking at those "same old stories". If we were going to go by the depressing (although accurate)theory of "well, its all been done, just the same old thing by a new hack" then NONE of us would be bothering to write anything at all! What would be the bloody point?

                        So for those of us who are complacent in our security, and feel no need to protect our ideas because, "well, its all been done before, right?", I say god bless and good luck. More power to 'em that they are that strong and secure (not sarcasm, I'm serious on that.). Am I going hysterically out and copyrighting every bloody piece of scrap paper I've scribbled words on? Please. :rolleyes But when I get ready to send my "finished" product, I'll make sure that *I* (dont give a rats ass what anyone else thinks about my opinion on this) personally feel comfortable with what I'm doing with my "baby". <shrug> This is my opinion and view on this; never said it was "right" or "gospel" for anyone else. I'll keep my "newbie" ideas/opinions to myself and defer to the greater wisdom of the Elders...


                        • #13
                          In Lil's defense, I really thought I was *something* when I registered my script and got my little registration paper back. Not because the world now knew me as a writer, but because I could validate in my own mind that I am a writer, by golly, I have a registration paper (that prooves nothing of course, but it makes me feel better) that reminds me that I worked my butt off on something and then I cared enough about it to get it it's own little "birth certificate" and "Social Security Number".

                          DoL - I don't think that Lil was intending to point fingers at you and say you are over paranoid. I think she was talking in general and just saying, (in my words), "don't get so paranoid that you lose your vision and crowd your creative brain with thoughts of somehow losing your work" ("you" meaning anyone - not you personally).

                          I can't imagine how horrible it feels to have your idea stolen. It has to be as bad or worse than the feeling of violation knowing someone has been in your house when you come home to discover your TV is gone. No one can or will critize you for being cautious.


                          • #14
                            RE old ideas w/ new twists

                            People being punished for "personal thoughts/POV's, male chauvenism, controlling husbands, and dirty tricks to force people to conform in relationships have been around since Taming of the Shrew.

                            But The Stepford Wives was the most original and creepy-ass take on it for it's time (and in someways, ours). The story was old, but the concept/context was fresh and stealable.

                            Offspring refusing to be murdered by their parents/adults as been around since Zeus offed his Daddy.

                            But It's alive was nothing like anything else before it's time. Bet the writer was careful about that "version of the story", too.


                            • #15
                              Thank you, Tina.

                              Lir, I wasn't addressing you or anything you have asked or said. I'm glad you're here.

                              My once feeling of pride at having copyrights was just laughing at myself.

                              My post was just meant to be a sarcastic reminder that we all have to take chances and put our work out into the world. Of course it is prudent to protect your work.

                              The pros on this board have repeatedly tried to explain why legitimate companies and agents have no interest in stealing anyone's work. But there seems to be a generalized nervousness about this. And, yes, there has been some paranoia on the subject, it keeps popping up, but I wasn't accusing you of that. My post popped out from a long period of reading these fears, not from legitimate questions about what you should do to protect your work.

                              Write on, Girl.