Thursday, September 19, 2013

Registering Copyright - do you need to?

Interesting article about registering copyrightat http://www.scriptmag.com/features/legally-speaking-it-depends-script-registration

It's written for the US market really but I did register several script years ago with the WGA - before I entered competitions - and it's still possibly the cheapest way to do it officially.

I know you can post yourself the script by registered mail but every time I've done that, I've then forgotten by the time it arrived and got so excited about getting a parcel that I've ripped it open.

Yep. It's sort of a 'D'oh' moment but usually with more swearing.

As far as I know, copyright exists the minute you write an idea up so the more you have written about a series or feature you're developing, the stronger your claim to copyright. And if you can manage not to rip open the parcel when it arrives, registered mail is still a good way to prove you were the author of that idea on that day.

Also, if you sit down at a meeting with a producer/ director/ possible collaborator, you can (respectfully, and not appearing to be paranoid or they won't talk to you anyway) say that the idea(s) you're discussing are between you both and that you'd like him/ her to tell you if they want to discuss it with a third person. I think this binds them to respect your copyright... But if you talk about an idea in a bar, you can't complain because anyone could have heard it...

Have to say, though, that it felt pretty cool to have the WGA certificate saying that on that particular day, I had created it and it was official!

I had a great time about 15 years ago when my apple computer started saving everything in 1935. I daydreamed about the scripts I could download and claim were mine, even as I feared my computer had been eaten up by a long toothed genie from the inside. Then I found out it was a battery that had gone.

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