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How to secure my Screenplay??


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#1 Fahmy Ferdian

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 03:11 AM

I have many screenplay, and I have a plan to send them to the local Production Houses(PH), I'm affraid that they will use my script without recognizing me as the scriptwriter.

My question is what is the best way to send my whole scripts to a PH? and how we can make for sure that if the Production Houses want to use my script, they'll contact me and not recoqnize others as the author of the script.

Any suggestion for my problem above are welcome.. Thank's before

Ferdian D.
(Indonesia)
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#2 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 03:56 AM

I have many screenplay, and I have a plan to send them to the local Production Houses(PH), I'm affraid that they will use my script without recognizing me as the scriptwriter.

My question is what is the best way to send my whole scripts to a PH? and how we can make for sure that if the Production Houses want to use my script, they'll contact me and not recoqnize others as the author of the script.
 
Any suggestion for my problem above are welcome.. Thank's before

Ferdian D.
(Indonesia)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi, I thought you would have to register your script/screenplay with the screen writers guild of the country you are in... I think that is how it is in Australia. Although, i was always wondering if registering in one country could be safe to send scripts to another, like to States for instance?

Anywas, i think it works in a way where you contact them, JOIN THEM - this should cost a little fee and then you register each one of your screenplays. They should each have a fee but i doubt it should be more then somewhat $20AUD each. Oh yeah, and I believe that the copyright stays yours till 50 years after you die or something... Hmmm and the Guild keeps it on file so they have proof...

Well, this was my answer to the best of my knowledge. It would be good to hear from someone else as i have NEVER done this.

By registering with your guild of writers you get to put the little copyright symbol "©" (PRESS ALT KEY and 0,1,6,9 in that order on your NUM keypad) next to your name on the screenplay, telling the PH do not dare steal, i got friends :D
Hope someone confirms this..

© 2005, All rights reservered by Lav
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#3 Fahmy Ferdian

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 06:17 AM

Thank's Lav, It's helpful suggestion.. but, i'm affraid that no screen writers guild here ....

But i'll try to find it ...

Now, how about "They are not imitating 100%, but they just stole the ideas?!!" :angry:

I guess it's very hard case, don't it ??

Thank's once again :D
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#4 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 06:45 AM

Hi mate,

Try looking into an Australian Writers Guild or American. Maybe you can become a memeber there and still distribute your work in your country? Perhaps it is worth writing to one of those guilds with your enquiry as I feel they may have more knowledge in this department.

I am not sure about protecting yourself against something that might look like your work. I think it is same as in every field, weather it be writing, architecture or design, if you change more then 25% of someones work you can pretty much get away with it - which is stealing...
sorry i cant help further mate ;)
good luck!
lav
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#5 Gordon Highland

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 08:22 AM

You can still put the © and year next to your name even if you don't register it. It's "copyrighted" at that point, you just don't have any actual legal proof. You should register it anyway, though. And of course, there's the poor-man's technique of mailing yourself a copy and not opening it, so that it has the dated postmark.

As for idea theft, this is the very reason most industry professionals (at least those in a position of influence) refuse to look at unsolicited scripts. They only read things that come from trusted sources (agents or the like) because they could be accused of doing exactly that. One of the most common rejections people get is "we already have a similar project in development." That would sound awful convenient, huh?

I don't know how the system works in Australia, but stateside, production houses don't usually actually initiate projects from the idea stage (unless they're indie weekend warriors, in which case you probably wouldn't get paid anyway), they get hired later by producers to do the work. These are the people who should be reading your scripts. Best of luck!
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#6 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 09:48 AM

Register with the US library of Congress... Guild registration holds no teeth... mailing yourself a copy is something everyone says, but i've never heard it in court. US copyright protection is prima facie evidence in court. you can do all the other things if you want, but you must copyright with LOC. www.copyright.gov

Best,
ae

Can foreigners register their works in the United States?
Any work that is protected by U.S. copyright law can be registered. This includes many works of foreign origin. All works that are unpublished, regardless of the nationality of the author, are protected in the United States. Works that are first published in the United States or in a country with which we have a copyright treaty or that are created by a citizen or domiciliary of a country with which we have a copyright treaty are also protected and may therefore be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. See Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States, for the status of specific countries.

Edited by theturnaround, 12 September 2005 - 09:49 AM.

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#7 Steven Budden

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 05:23 PM

I have many screenplay, and I have a plan to send them to the local Production Houses(PH), I'm affraid that they will use my script without recognizing me as the scriptwriter.

My question is what is the best way to send my whole scripts to a PH? and how we can make for sure that if the Production Houses want to use my script, they'll contact me and not recoqnize others as the author of the script.
 
Any suggestion for my problem above are welcome.. Thank's before

Ferdian D.
(Indonesia)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



You could try and find a reputable agent.

Steven
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#8 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 05:25 PM

Anyone can register a script with the Writer's Guild of America. You don't have to be a member. It costs $20 and you can register by sending the script either by mail or online, or in person. It's a very easy process and the script stays registered with the guild for 5 years.
This is from the WGA website:
"Even if you have copyright through the Library of Congress, registering with the WGAw Registry creates a separate legal record for your material. In addition, you may consider registering treatments or drafts of your work-in-progress with our Registry prior to registering your final draft with the Copyright Office."
Your best bet is to register with both the Library of Congress and the WGA, and also with any federal office in Indonesia that serves the same purpose as the Library of Congress in the United States. So many scripts and idea's are stolen everyday, and it's certainly in your best interest to cover all the bases so that if theft should happen with your work you have more than one way to prove that it is indeed your work.
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#9 Fahmy Ferdian

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 11:59 PM

Wow...nice forum nice persons awesome advices.....

Great... :D

By the way, what is the website of The Writer's Guild of America... ??

Maybe I should try this suggestion... Although US$ 20 means Rp. 210.000,- :P but i should try that thank's a lot dude !!!!
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#10 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 12:21 AM

Wow...nice forum nice persons awesome advices.....

Great...  :D

By the way, what is the website of The Writer's Guild of America... ??

Maybe I should try this suggestion... Although US$ 20 means Rp. 210.000,-  :P  but i should try that thank's a lot dude !!!!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


www.wga.org

but trust me... this is merely secondary to a copyright with the Library of Congress. The guild is primarily established to negotiate things such as minimums for writers belonging to the guild; Guild registration expires in 5 yrs I think. It's fine, but it's not copyright registration (although, copyright is established as soon as your work is in fixed form as another poster mentioned)... LOC is for your natural born life + 70 yrs. or so. There is no comparison.
ae

Edited by theturnaround, 13 September 2005 - 12:25 AM.

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#11 Fahmy Ferdian

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 01:54 AM

Hie Again !!!!

You're right TTA, after reads the site of the WGA, WGA just look like a secondary "nest", but it's great.... and simple way to secure files without ©.

Several minutes ago, I've reads the www.copyright.gov and tarr.upsto.gov there is so many explanations about copyrighting and patenting the creations. Is it true that if we copyrighting a creation, we're not automatically copyrighting the title? :huh:. For the creation we should register at U.S Copyright Office and in the other hand, the title should be registered at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ???

Is It true...??? give me some explanation about copyrightand patent mechanism...thank's Bro !!!!

Ferdian. D
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#12 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 08:46 AM

I'm not so sure about that... i'm not a uspta lawyer or anything, but it possibly comes down to the length of the wordsand intellectual property, etc... but my question is, why are you so worried about the title? Is it that amazing? Titles seem to be merely be a dime a dozen, there are many films listed under a single title on the www.imdb.com

If your title is precious, and you really want to protect it, the best protection is not to give it out, simply title the script "The Untitled Fahmy Ferdian Project." Scripts are listed in this format in the trades all the time.
best,
ae

Edited by theturnaround, 13 September 2005 - 08:47 AM.

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#13 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 09:29 AM

That is just really good adivce from theturnaround; I didnt plan to , but i learned a little something here today. Thanks. :D
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#14 Gordon Highland

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 09:44 AM

A title can't be copyrighted, be it a movie, book, or song (or any short phrase or slogan lacking the necessary creativity). If it's a long one that somehow becomes completely synonymous with its content, a case could be made for a property rights violation. I wouldn't call your next movie "Lemony Snicket's 'A Series of Unfortunate Events,'" however.
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#15 Fahmy Ferdian

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 11:04 AM

Okay.... :D my knowledge database added now :lol:

Yeah, previously I think that the title and all its contents are included in a packet of copyright.

Now, I understand.. :rolleyes:

Thank's

Ferdian. D.
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#16 Alvin Pingol

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 05:41 PM

Re: Poor Man's Copyright,

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.


--US Copyright Office
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#17 Fahmy Ferdian

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 08:50 PM

The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself



What is the meaning of sending a copy of my work to me myself?.

I have no idea, is it useful ??

Tell me please :D assume that I am the dullest man :D

Thank's

Ferdian. D.
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#18 Gordon Highland

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 12:07 AM

No, apparently it is not useful, it is just something that is talked about sometimes.

If you mail an envelope, the outgoing post office puts a stamp on it that says what date it was mailed. Address an envelope containing your script to yourself and send it through the postal system. When it arrives, don't open it, and you'll have a sealed, dated envelope with your script inside that proves (only in theory) that you came up with it at least before the date stamped on it, in case someone else makes the claim later that it was their idea and not yours.
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#19 Fahmy Ferdian

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 04:48 AM

hohoho... ;)

I've got the point :lol:

Yes...sometimes it's needed...

Thank's for the explaination Gordon....!!!

Any other tricks ??

Edited by Fahmy Ferdian, 14 September 2005 - 04:55 AM.

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#20 Robert Hughes

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 01:23 PM

I don't know the particulars, but my guess is that the self-mailed envelope approach is not legally admissable. I have mistakenly sent and received letters that were in unsealed envelopes, and could conceivably mail empty, unsealed envelopes to myself to fill with miscellaneous bright ideas at some later date.

Maybe I've got one of those envelopes dated from about, say, 1994, that contains a detailed story line of a teenage wizard in England who lives with his cruel relatives. And hey, it just turned up! I want a slice of the pie, JKR, and fast!
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