Important Copyright Info For Screenwriters
Screenwriters have a tough job. It takes time, dedication, creativity, and hard work to create a script or screenplay you are proud of. Screenwriters often pour their heart and soul into their work with the goal of seeing their work on the big screen, receiving appropriate credit, entertaining audiences, and getting paid.
Copyright laws protect original work, including work created by screenwriters. Do you know what rights you have to your completed script?
What do you need to do to protect your work?
As US Copyright Attorneys, Sanders Law Group helps creative professionals like screenwriters protect their intellectual property and receive compensation when someone violates their rights. We offer free copyright infringement case evaluations, which you can schedule by calling us at 855-456-2242.
Copyright Covers The “Expression” of Your Ideas, Not The Ideas Themselves
Your concepts and ideas do not receive the protection of copyright law. Copyright protects the tangible expression of the ideas. So, while your detailed, fully-developed script or screenplay can be protected, the concept of your story cannot. For example, the concept of a story about an alien invasion cannot be copyrighted. However, the words that you write, highly distinctive characters, and other attributes of the screenplay may be subject to copyright protection.
Your Characters and Treatment Might Also be Protected By Copyright
In some cases, the character you write can be so crucial to the story or unique that it has the potential to become a distinct entity. You can seek copyright protection of the character itself when this occurs, separate from the screenplay or script.
What Does Copyright Do?
Essentially, copyrighting your work means you have the exclusive rights to it unless or until you sell, license, or give away those rights to another entity like a studio, production company, or network.
To Enforce Your Copyright, Register With The US Copyright Office
While copyright exists the moment your work becomes tangible, registering with the US Copyright Office is the only way to guarantee you have a way to enforce it. To access the courts and litigate a copyright infringement claim, you must have a valid copyright registration. In other words, you can’t file a copyright lawsuit against an infringer without a certificate of registration.
Once you have your certificate, you can file a claim for infringement that occurred before you registered. However, you can only seek statutory damages for copyright infringement that occurred after you registered. For infringement that occurred before the registration date, you can only receive actual damages, which are harder to calculate and substantiate. The sooner you register your script or screenplay, the better.
For Help, Call Our US Copyright Attorneys at Sanders Law Group
If you are a screenwriter, scriptwriter, or another creative professional with a copyright problem, call our US Copyright Attorneys today at 855-456-2242. We offer free copyright infringement consultations.