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legal How do you protect your work?

But again as I understand it WGA
Do NOT use the Writer's Guild! They destroy your script if you won't renew (for yet another fee) after 5 years. The US Copyright office NEVER destroys what people submit. So your best bet if you want to register it is to the the US Copyright office.

Otherwise your hard drive is your evidence. I like to periodically save a new document file as I'm writing so that if something becomes corrupted then I have copies. Example: ScriptDraft-01, ScriptDraft-02, ScriptDraft-03, etc.

One of the problems with letting people see your script is that you can't copyright an idea. You might have a great premise for a movie that isn't really enforceable under copyright law. People can steal an idea here and there without lifting your entire script.
 

pedramyz

Member
Do NOT use the Writer's Guild! They destroy your script if you won't renew (for yet another fee) after 5 years. The US Copyright office NEVER destroys what people submit. So your best bet if you want to register it is to the the US Copyright office.
I gotta say, when I saw that " Do NOT " part I panicked a little:D since last year I registered it to WGA. Reading further I realized it's not as dour. That's not a problem. I will register it with US copyright office this year. The only reason I didn't go with US copyright last year was that It takes about 8 months for a script to be registered. But this year I realized the date of your online registration is enough evidence to cover you if you wanna proceed with your script in anyway.

One of the problems with letting people see your script is that you can't copyright an idea. You might have a great premise for a movie that isn't really enforceable under copyright law. People can steal an idea here and there without lifting your entire script.
Yeah that's the main issue I have, which unfortunately seems there is nothing I can do about it.
 

pedramyz

Member
:lol:

I'm not sure FL was playing along with the nickname pun, or that you helped him realise I did jokingly not joke ;)
:lol: yeah . I'd forgotten what his name was, so at first I didn't get it. Then Directorik said his name was actually nobody then I remembered, then I realized. Don't know about FL though.
 

Mo-One

Member
I know I asked this question before, but I only got into it briefly. If I wanna discuss it with a bit more detail I'd make some examples of stealing ones works or plagiarism :

Let's say You've written a script. Now you intend to give it to an editor ( who you don't personally know ), and lets say this editor happens to be a writer too. If this editor gets any ideas and decides to write his/her own story based on some of your screenplay's concepts, how can you prevent him/her from doing that? mlesemann once mentioned NDA, but she and directorik both said if somebody wants to steal your story NDA can't really stop them from doing that. Also I intend to submit my script to WGA. But again as I understand it WGA is something that provides evidence to the DATE of a certain work submitted and it doesn't really get into the concepts or stories or characters of your screenplay. So I'm not sure if you decide to sue somebody WGA would offer solid paperworks and evidences concerning your works' concepts,... .

Another example would be being able to pitch your script to a producer ( That day would be a good day btw), Lets say a certain producer didn't like your work. but he liked some of the few concepts of your screenplay. and instead of asking you to rewrite it, he would go on and pitch your concept to another reputable writer he knows to write it for him ( I don't know if this is something producers would do btw ), How can you stop them from doing that?

oh and one more thing, lets say that WGA provides all the necessary protections, each time you rewrite your story or edit it for a new draft you should again submit your script to WGA if you want to show it to someone? example would be you've already submitted say the 3rd draft of your script to WGA, a producer reads it and asks you to rewrite it . Do you need to submit the new rewritten script to WGA again? If this is the case it seems pretty expensive.
Hi I'm from the UK and I can completely empathise with you. I had a meeting yesterday to discuss a future project. These were genuine people down to Earth types there was no need to distrust them. So when they asked me about my project I explained the basic premise of the idea - the format - what time it was set - what genre - the topic it subject it would examine - why I believed in project - the strategic plan - method to get to market - the audience demographics - mood boards and etc. At no time did I give them specific details of the project and at this stage they didn't need to know. After my pitch I was asked to provide a script which I said I would on the basis an NDA and Non Comp agreement would need to be signed. They duly agreed. I tend to get these agreements signed before I send scripts out because it not just those that you have a meetings with which are likely to steal your idea(s) but also anyone that they talk to about the project. So my advice is to generate interest first and meet with people that have an interest in the genre (worse thing to do is pitch a romance to someone you only deals in psychological thrillers) the agreements signed before discussing your idea in detail, validate their ID and email address. And when you do email the script bcc yourself in the email. I hope this helps in some way.
Cheers
M
 
Yeah that's the main issue I have, which unfortunately seems there is nothing I can do about it.
I've heard stories of major networks lifting ideas from people. Then what? Spend $100,000 to take them to court?
Or if some small time person steals your idea, then what? Sue somebody who's broke?
I know someone who had their T-shirt design flat out stolen by someone who was selling them. They spent like $3,000 on having a lawyer send threatening letters to no avail. They could have spent maybe another $10,000 to take them to court and win a summary judgement, then hire a collector to garnish their empty checking account.

Back to topic, the thing is that you never know how far down the road you might have a solid case to sue somebody with deep pockets. It could be 10, 20 or more years later. Look at that Spirit / Led Zeppelin lawsuit. Use the Library of Congress -- not the Writer's Guild.

Also, because they may take 9 months to process your submission, is OK. You can make a photocopy of it before sending it off. Online sites like YouTube will accept your application as evidence when for example removing content from someone else's channel.
 
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pedramyz

Member
Hi I'm from the UK and I can completely empathise with you. I had a meeting yesterday to discuss a future project. These were genuine people down to Earth types there was no need to distrust them. So when they asked me about my project I explained the basic premise of the idea - the format - what time it was set - what genre - the topic it subject it would examine - why I believed in project - the strategic plan - method to get to market - the audience demographics - mood boards and etc. At no time did I give them specific details of the project and at this stage they didn't need to know. After my pitch I was asked to provide a script which I said I would on the basis an NDA and Non Comp agreement would need to be signed. They duly agreed. I tend to get these agreements signed before I send scripts out because it not just those that you have a meetings with which are likely to steal your idea(s) but also anyone that they talk to about the project. So my advice is to generate interest first and meet with people that have an interest in the genre (worse thing to do is pitch a romance to someone you only deals in psychological thrillers) the agreements signed before discussing your idea in detail, validate their ID and email address. And when you do email the script bcc yourself in the email. I hope this helps in some way.
Cheers
M
Thank you for the suggestions. Yes, I am aware of NDA and I will keep that in mind. But again NDA doesn't stop anyone from stealing your ideas ,nothing does actually. And honestly since every producer potentially has more money than I do, I don't think I have any chance of winning in a lawsuit😄.
 

pedramyz

Member
I've heard stories of major networks lifting ideas from people. Then what? Spend $100,000 to take them to court?
Or if some small time person steals your idea, then what? Sue somebody who's broke?
You are right. However I believe my case is a bit more sensitive. Aside from the fact that I don't have any money, I am from Iran. I don't think any U.S entertainment attorney is gonna pay much attention to an unsolicited writer from the other side of the globe who claims his screenplay is stolen. Heck I don't even know I'll be able to get a visa to attend the court😅( don't know if that's required for a lawsuit though). But again, I'm learning (slowly, but surely) to stop treating my works as gold . For now the real challenge is to generate interest and win some competitions.
 
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Hello,

First and foremost, you CANNOT protect an idea. So, for example, Shaekespeare, if he was alive, cannot sue the producers of "West Side Story" of adapting "Romeo and Juliet", and he also cannot sue the producers of "Forbidden Planet" for adapting "The Tempest".

In terms of a producer stealing your idea, well, a producer can have literally a room full of scripts, and he would not have the time or the inclination to see whose idea he wants to steal. That said, if you were a prominent writer, that could happen - see the case of "Buchwald v Paramount". But Art Buchwald was a prominent writer at that time. In the end, the best way is to ask an agent to pitch for you.
 

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