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Copy right on script


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#1 Rainer Halbich

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 06:35 PM

Hi there, I am a cinematographer from SA, I have this amazing idea for an insurance advert that I would like to sell to a producer, I am not a script writer but I need someone to give me advice on how to protect my idea. I want to write a few drafts on the same idea to prevent any copycats. Tanx.
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 06:41 PM

Hi there, I am a cinematographer from SA, I have this amazing idea for an insurance advert that I would like to sell to a producer, I am not a script writer but I need someone to give me advice on how to protect my idea. I want to write a few drafts on the same idea to prevent any copycats. Tanx.



I've been pondered this dilemma on many occasions myself. Here is one solution I have considered. Go ahead and do your idea. Hopefully the people involved in your test version won't feel the need to overly share the concept with others.

Then I would post it to YouTube, but set it for private use, not public. Then send a link to the company you are pitching the idea. In theory, (and THANKFULLY I am not a lawyer, but rather a person with a soul) you have created a video time-date of your idea.

They could steal your idea anyways but I heard that Apple actually paid someone for their Apple commercial that they had posted on YouTube and immediately began airing it on television. So, if Apple can pay someone for their commercial idea, so could this insurance company.
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#3 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 06:45 PM

write it in the most detailed way, add storyboards as detailed as you can, put it in an envelope and send it to yourself. The date stamped on the envelope once it's sent can be used as evidence if someone steals your idea, given that you don't open the envelope once you receive it in the mail. Old trick ;)
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 07:20 PM

I'd do the sending trick, in the UK it's usually registered post. However, I don't think the producer will pay for it unless the insurance company is actually interested in making the advert.

Advertising proposals for clients is speculative and even the ad agencies invest large amounts of time in putting together pitches that don't go anywhere and they don't receive any payment.
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#5 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 08:34 PM

I'm not a lawyer but I as I understand copyright; you can't copyright an idea but your
expression of that idea, at least in the USA.

That's why it's hard to protect a concept and why sometimes you see three t.v shows or movies
out at the same time that seem quite alike. For example, the first story about time travel must have
seemed pretty amazing but anybody is free to write his or her book or script about time travel and
copyright that book or that movie.

Still, protect yourself anyway that you can. If your idea is a fresh one, showing that you did it first
may make anybody else's version seem a lot like not only your idea but also
your expression of that idea. If somebody likes it enough, it might be easier to buy it/hire you.

Even if you don't sell it, your enthusiasm for it should help you to make a great demo. of your work.

Good luck.
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 11:45 PM

Hi there, I am a cinematographer from SA, I have this amazing idea for an insurance advert that I would like to sell to a producer, I am not a script writer but I need someone to give me advice on how to protect my idea. I want to write a few drafts on the same idea to prevent any copycats. Tanx.


You can't copywrite an idea, An idea isn't worth the paper it's written on. Turn it into a script, THAT you can copywrite. Also insurance advertising??!!! How much do you think you're actually going to be able to sell that for? Advertising is a committee process and it's ultimately what the client wants.They take into consideration MANY factors, their image, their personal tastes, what has worked in the past, costs vs effectiveness. There is an entire industry BUILT on coming up with advertising ideas employing full staffs of people who do nothing all day long but come up with ideas and turn those ideas into practical applications that's existed for a couple of hundred years to hock products, so no matter WHAT your idea is, chances are someone, somewhere, has thought of it before you did. Take "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" or "Where's the beef??!!!". these are very simple ideas, but the presentation is what made them brilliant. Some companies use the same slogan for decades, Please don't squeeze the Charmin! The businesses want the slogan associated with their company. "Two Great tastes that taste great together" Producers rarely have anything to do with it, they're hired to make the commercials that advertising companies want them to make. That concepts have already long been determined.

Stop worrying about how much people are just lying in the shadows just waiting to pounce out and "Steal" your ideas like a band of demented ad executive muggers. First of all, no one is going to take a chance on stealing an idea and getting sued when they can buy it for almost nothing and secondly, your ideas are never as brilliant as you think they are. You'll find there are ALWAYS ideas a LOT better than your's and ideas that are a LOT worse that get made ALL the time., so just wake up, smell the coffee and put your idea into a script and register it with the writer's guild (if they're not all out on the picket line at the time the mail arrives) and send it out to some ad agencies who handle insurance companies.....but don't expect much. They're gonna want to use the ideas from the guys they HIRED to write thgat crap first! :rolleyes:

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 11 January 2008 - 11:48 PM.

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#7 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 12:15 AM

That's why it may make sense to just make the commercial and shop it. All the stuff mentioned above is true and relevant, and yet it doesn't matter because the next great idea is not necessarily going to come out of an advertising agency.

I think it's important not to equate the monopoly of influence with being the only legitimate source for the next good idea.
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#8 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 12:53 AM

Gents & Ladies;

http://www.copyright.gov

something is copyrighted as soon as you put in in fixed form. you register with the government for things like prima facie evidence in court and max damages.


From the FAQ:

I?ve heard about a ?poor man?s copyright.? What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a ?poor man?s copyright.? There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.

Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section "What Works Are Protected."

Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section ?Copyright Registration? and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.
________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________

As someone mentioned, i tend to believe that the way you write and execute the idea is the only thing that matters, that there really aren't any new ideas under the sun, but if you feel you have lightning in a bottle, get thee to the copyright office.
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#9 Mike Lary

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 12:55 AM

Like others said, you can't copyright an idea. If you're looking to copyright a script, that can only be done by sending your script to the Library of Congress and paying a fee ($50, I believe). Sending the script to yourself in the mail (also called the poor man's copyright) and registering a script with the writers guild are NOT copyright methods. They will provide you with a way to prove ownership of the script and the guild will assist in providing said documentation if the case goes to court, but there is a cap on the amount you can collect because the work was not registered with the LOC. Subtract your court costs / lawyer fees from whatever you're handed by the judge (if you win). If you want the option of suing for more than you would have been paid for the sale, you absolutely must go through the proper copyright process. Then the cap is lifted.

Good luck with your endeavor.
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