Los Angeles Entertainment Attorneys Offer Tips on Protecting Your Screenplay

In Los Angeles or Hollywood, countless directors, actors, musicians, song writers, screenplay writers, producers, and others wanting to “make it big” in entertainment compete for the most sought-after careers every day. If you are a talented individual who dreams of having your screenplay taken to the big screen, getting to the point where your writing is complete and you are ready to submit it to a production company, film festival, or even a contest can be so thrilling, you completely forget about protecting your masterpiece. While most in the industry would never steal others’ ideas or stories, unfortunately it DOES happen.

So, what can you do to ensure your screenplay is protected? Here are a few things to consider. First and foremost, until you have taken action to protect your screenplay, do not submit it or share it with anyone. Sometimes it’s those you trust most – even a writing partner – that may try to take your creative work or ideas and run with it!

First and foremost, copyright your screenplay with the Library of Congress. You may want to consider registering it with the WGA, or Writers Guild of America, as well. It costs just $30 to file a copyright, a tiny investment considering you have protection in case of litigation, and it’s good for your entire life and beyond. Registering with the WGA is just $20 for non-members, so in total you can expect to spend about $50. Considering the potential worth of your screenplay, it is a very small price to pay.

Provide a copy of your screenplay to your business attorney.

Understand that while you do not legally have to file copyright with the Library of Congress in order for your work to be copyrighted, you will not be able to collect monetary damages without filing a copyright. When your creative work is fixed in its written form, it is copyrighted – but this only gives you the authority to stop others from stealing your work.

Keep a log of all information when you share your screenplay with anyone. Giving your work to someone else for their opinion is scary, no doubt. In order to protect your work a bit further, keep a log of every single person/production company you give a copy of your screenplay to. This info should include name/date/contact information. You may also want to consider sending just a query initially. This way, if an agency or production company actually requests the script, you have proof (paper trail) that the agency requested your full screenplay, and that you did not just send it off of your own accord.

Even if you are the most trusting person in the world, it is still vital that you take steps to protect your screenplay. At Spotora & Associates, our LA entertainment lawyers are dedicated to helping ensure our clients’ goals are met, and providing you with the legal guidance and support necessary to make smart business decisions.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 3:12 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.