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Thread: sending out a new script

  1. Default sending out a new script

    Has anyone got any advice when it comes to e-mailing scripts to actors and potential film crew who you are yet to meet. In the sense of not letting someone steal ideas or even the whole script and labbeling it as there own work? Thanks

  2. #2
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    That would work for the script, but not for the ideas. Ideas are not subject to copyright. I've no idea what you can do to protect that, but I'm sure someone here will have some suggestions.
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulears View Post
    You have to trust the people you work with, but this would be one of the times when the old trick of sending it to yourself, recorded delivery - and then not opening it would work. If it gets out, you'll know the people it could have been, and will have enough proof to do something about it.
    As someone more eloquant than me put it:

    People love this idea, I love this idea, it's got a nice average-Joe-finds-a-loophole feel to it-but it's a bad idea. Why? Because mailing something to yourself doesn't copyright the thing; the material was automatically copyrighted when you typed it into "tangible form." As for providing an official, dated record of the material's existence, nowadays, it is so easy to fake a self-mailing (ever hear of re-sealable envelopes?) that any opposing lawyer with half a brain is bound to ask that your sealed package be ruled inadmissible as evidence (leaving you with no case if the judge agrees). Finally, mailing scripts to yourself is not the same as filing for copyright registration, so you will not be able to seek statutory damages and legal expenses in a lawsuit. Bottom line, a Poor Man's Copyright is a romantic concept that offers little in the way of reliable protection.
    Why not take a look at these pages, Copyright - BECTU, as a start point to learning more?
    Last edited by Marc Peters; 10-04-2010 at 10:33 PM.

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    By maintaining drafts - which have electronic signatures/dates contained within them is partly proof in such an event. You could also post a copy to a friend as a witness (or a priest!)

    Buy yes, ideas are not copyright. However, ideas are just ideas. It's the execution that matters most. Chances are - if they're not experienced screenwriters...they won't stand a chance of pulling the idea off with as much diligence! Stealing your script is highly unlikely - especially if you're conjuring a working relationship with them.

  5. #5

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    Register your script with the WGA. Put the reference number on the title page of the script. If you find your ideas on screen a couple of years later in someone elses film, time to phone a lawyer and protect your rights/ideas as a screen writer.

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    Oh yes. The Writer's Guild is definitely the way to go if you're considering going out all the way as a serious writer. Not only do they defend the copyright on your work, they'll also help negotiate the writer's fee, and provide you with exemplar contracts. So it's sort of like a union for writers.
    Last edited by Spiral Dementia; 02-25-2011 at 02:08 AM.

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