Copyright and who to send your script to

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  • Copyright and who to send your script to

    A few questions now that I'm wrapping up my first script.

    * I suppose it is advisable to copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office the final version you intend to send out, as well as register your script with the WGA?

    * Do you always wait until after you've received approval to then send your script to others? (U.S. Copyright wait time is 3 months! - you must be able to send before it's cleared?)

    * Do you write copyright or WGA registration number or put any copyright information on the title page of the script? I've heard no.

    * How do you decide who NOT to send your script to? Is it okay to send to all friends, family, acquaintances, whomever? I've read the likelihood of theft is so low, but it seems like you have to be somewhat choosy. For instance, I clicked on a few people's websites through here, and they usually include title / logline / and a bit of extra info but not full scripts.

    All help appreciated on this front.

  • #2
    Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

    Uh oh...

    Now you're beginning to have me worried for you. This is your VERY FIRST SCRIPT? And it's 170 pages? Ummmm... just saying, this ain't looking good. But do you.

    As for your questions: Don't worry about any of it. I've sold something that was unregistered and not copyrighted. In fact, I've sold a lot of music that way as well. No one's gonna steal it. You'd have to beg them to steal it. I haven't registered my last 5 scripts and they've gone out that way via rep. No one cares.

    DO NOT put anything on your title page other than: Title. Your name. Your rep's name/company. No date of draft, phone numbers, email, website, none of that. If they love it, they'll find you.

    Send it to ANYONE who'll read it. Literally anyone. Sign nothing until it's real (your lawyer will tell you when that is) other than a standard release.

    TRUTH: The odds of you getting repped off a 170 page first script are incredibly low. I got signed off my first script, but it was 114 pages and I'd already spent 10 years reading scripts and giving notes on my ex's client's scripts. And I already knew how the town functioned, mostly.

    Good luck!
    Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

      Originally posted by Merrick View Post
      A few questions now that I'm wrapping up my first script.

      * I suppose it is advisable to copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office the final version you intend to send out, as well as register your script with the WGA?
      My understanding is that, unless you plan substantial changes, you can copyright your script now and the copyright will be good as long as you're only making minor changes or correcting grammar or format. In the U.S. you can register online, I'm not sure if that option is available out of the country, but I think it is.

      WGA registration, apparently, applies to the specific script you're sending out. Of the two, copyright registration gives you the most legal protection. WGA registration is used for credit arbitration, I believe.

      Originally posted by Merrick View Post
      * Do you always wait until after you've received approval to then send your script to others? (U.S. Copyright wait time is 3 months! - you must be able to send before it's cleared?)
      No. Your screenplay is copyrighted automatically, the minute you complete it. What copyright registration does is to establish (on the record) that your copyrighted material is yours. I believe you have to wait until the registration process has completed to file an infringement lawsuit. That's supposed to take about six months if you file online. Probably long before anyone could infringe.

      Originally posted by Merrick View Post
      * Do you write copyright or WGA registration number or put any copyright information on the title page of the script? I've heard no.
      I don't think so. I think I would just put the copyright notice (c) on the title page.

      Originally posted by Merrick View Post
      * How do you decide who NOT to send your script to? Is it okay to send to all friends, family, acquaintances, whomever? I've read the likelihood of theft is so low, but it seems like you have to be somewhat choosy. For instance, I clicked on a few people's websites through here, and they usually include title / logline / and a bit of extra info but not full scripts.

      All help appreciated on this front.
      Research. You don't send the script out randomly or before you make arrangements with those to whom you want to send it to. That means you'll have to research those agents, studios and production companies most likely to be interested in your script, pitch your script and ask them to read it - then send it if they say yes. There's a FAQ on the old misc.writing.screenplays about how to go about this (even when you don't have an agent). I'll see if I can find it.
      STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

        Originally posted by Centos View Post
        I think I would just put the copyright notice (c) on the title page.
        Nah... don't do this. No one does it. Never seen it. It'll alert them that you don't know how this works, it'll signal "amateur" to them. Don't raise an unnecessary red flags.

        Good luck!
        Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

          I used to do all that copyright crap. All of it. Mail script to self. WGA. Copyright office. Maybe I did put number on title page and copyright symbol.

          Now I just write DON'T YOU STEAL THIS and it works just as well.

          Seriously, I don't do anything either. I don't get the point for scripts now that I've been doing it.

          Just by sending the email you have more proof than you need.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

            Originally posted by Bono View Post
            I used to do all that copyright crap. All of it. Mail script to self. WGA. Copyright office. Maybe I did put number on title page and copyright symbol.

            Now I just write DON'T YOU STEAL THIS and it works just as well.

            Seriously, I don't do anything either. I don't get the point for scripts now that I've been doing it.

            Just by sending the email you have more proof than you need.
            Same...

            Started doing this way back in my 20s when I was in bands. Send myself the demo in the mail (as copyright). Copyright EVERYTHING through the copyright office. Same with when I began screenwriting.

            Nowadays...?

            Meh... the email documenting when it was sent is more than enough.

            You can get away with some outta the box stuff. Example: My previous script had a bunch of trippy non-courier font (several different fonts). Rep thought it was cool, since it was done to taste. My new one has a picture of myself as a kid on the title page because it's autobiographical. Rep was fine with that too. But, if I added a (c) I'm certain he'd be like "Dude, what's with the copyright stuff? Delete and send back. Unnecessary."
            Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

              When I read about lawsuits, it seems the copyright never comes up. They always talk about email trail, computer documents, meetings, etc as proof...

              Because even if I copyright my work in 2004 and they sell same concept in 2015 doesn't mean they stole my work....

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

                Originally posted by Bono View Post
                When I read about lawsuits, it seems the copyright never comes up. They always talk about email trail, computer documents, meetings, etc as proof...

                Because even if I copyright my work in 2004 and they sell same concept in 2015 doesn't mean they stole my work....
                TRUTH...
                Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

                  Originally posted by GucciGhostXXX View Post
                  Now you're beginning to have me worried for you. This is your VERY FIRST SCRIPT? And it's 170 pages? Ummmm... just saying, this ain't looking good. But do you.
                  I know, I know.

                  OK thank you all.

                  Probably just for safety, I will submit to the copyright office and then send it out to others while pending. I don't have a rep, so this seems like the simplest way.

                  It sounds like it's pretty okay to send to whomever, just don't send to everyone. But industry people, potential investors, other writers, close friends all okay.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

                    Copyright it now. That will secure the date, and they'll send you tracking info. (You don't need to re-register new versions.)

                    The (c) office is not going to refuse it unless you've done something wrong -- like I did, when I sent in previously-published (but unregistered) shorts, and tried to copyright them all together as an anthology. But except for something technical like that, you're safe once you've sent in the registration and $.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

                      Thank you. I am always 1-2 days away from finishing. Just doing the final then final final then final final final rounds of editing. I may as well send in what's my last version since it's so close.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

                        Originally posted by Merrick View Post
                        A few questions now that I'm wrapping up my first script.

                        * I suppose it is advisable to copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office the final version you intend to send out, as well as register your script with the WGA?
                        you don't "copyright it." you register YOUR copyright with the US Copyright Office or the WGA. it's not semantics. it's what correct and not correct. use the WGA, they do it immediately. they don't look at it. or review it for authenticity and it's the industry standard. all it does is establish a completion date of your copyright.


                        * Do you always wait until after you've received approval to then send your script to others? (U.S. Copyright wait time is 3 months! - you must be able to send before it's cleared?)
                        there should be no waiting. i don't know what you mean.

                        * Do you write copyright or WGA registration number or put any copyright information on the title page of the script? I've heard no.
                        no, you do not.

                        the WGA will mail you the certificate. no one puts it on your title page. the only time anyone needs it is if they want to purchase your script which means they will become the new copyright owner.
                        * How do you decide who NOT to send your script to? Is it okay to send to all friends, family, acquaintances, whomever? I've read the likelihood of theft is so low, but it seems like you have to be somewhat choosy. For instance, I clicked on a few people's websites through here, and they usually include title / logline / and a bit of extra info but not full scripts.
                        why would you send it to family and friends? just to share? sure, why not. i don't send it to friends. only my sister, because she's good with notes. people will say, "i'd love to read it." then never do. besides, in most cases they can't give you any meaningful feedback. writers can. producers can. professional readers can.

                        otherwise i don't understand your thinking. it's your script, you can send it to anyone you want. i don't include a pdf of my scripts on my website because i want to know who's reading it. it's about controlling access. i don't send it to friends. only my sister, because she's good with notes. if anyone can read it without your knowledge, what's the point. it serves you no purpose. you get nothing out of it.

                        just my take.
                        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

                          Originally posted by GucciGhostXXX View Post
                          Nah... don't do this. No one does it. Never seen it. It'll alert them that you don't know how this works, it'll signal "amateur" to them. Don't raise an unnecessary red flags.

                          Good luck!
                          yeah, don't do that. everyone in the industry KNOWS your script is protected by copyright law BECAUSE you're sending them a completed screenplay. they don't need the number until they want to purchase it.

                          it's that simple.
                          "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

                            Originally posted by Merrick View Post
                            I know, I know.

                            OK thank you all.

                            Probably just for safety, I will submit to the copyright office and then send it out to others while pending. I don't have a rep, so this seems like the simplest way.

                            It sounds like it's pretty okay to send to whomever, just don't send to everyone. But industry people, potential investors, other writers, close friends all okay.
                            speaking of investors... you might want to start writing a synopsis, they'll be more likely to read it than a 170 page script.
                            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Copyright and who to send your script to

                              Originally posted by Merrick View Post
                              Thank you. I am always 1-2 days away from finishing. Just doing the final then final final then final final final rounds of editing. I may as well send in what's my last version since it's so close.
                              really, there's no rush. just register the copy you have. it's not going to change substantially any time soon.

                              no need to panic. no need to wait. i would, of course, send it to readers first.

                              I've used Titan Creed's service before and if you tell him specific things to look out for that you are concerned with he will pay close attention to it as well as give you his honest opinion about the marketability and potential of it.

                              good luck
                              "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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