Photo by Bianka Bernabe
Every script writer should make sure they are prepared to face copy right violations. Here are some facts around copyright to ensure your next idea does not get plagiarised without you having any legal grounds to defend yourself.
Fact is that you own the copyright to your story the moment to write it down. Important is that you cannot own the copyright to an idea and in most instances not even to a concept. Word of advise is to not shop around with an unfinished idea or concept prior to the screenplay (or any other written work).
In any copyright dispute the problem is for you to prove you came up with the story prior to the person who plagiarised your work. There are some easy and affordable options to insure you keep the upper hand in disputes over your copyright.
In the Philippines you can register your script with the Intellectual Property Center. But in many countries legal contracts are often not worth the paper they are printed on this is often not much more than a band aid.
I find it easier to deal with the Writers guild of America in order to register your script online within a few minutes and from the convenience of your home. You do not have to be an american citizen or resident to register your script. For none WGA members the registration fee for any written work is about 25USD and the registration will last for 10 years or more. Just upload a pdf version of your script and you receive a certificate with date and timestamp. You can register either using the East coast or the West coast office. Just follow the links.
For more information about copyright and other legal matters check out “The Filmmakers’ Legal Guide” available on the topics.