(844) 815-9632

copyright holder

Legal How-To: Copyrighting Your Screenplay

So you've written a screenplay. Before you share it with others, you'll want to legally protect your script by copyrighting it. While your work is technically copyrighted the moment you create it, certain legal protections exist only when you register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. For example, registration with the Copyright Office is required before you can file a lawsuit for copyright infringement. A written treatment or outline of a fully developed, unique story should be enough to qualify for copyright protection, and a completed script usually does. Here's a general overview of what screenwriters need to know about the process: Online Copyright Registration Registering screenplays through the Copyright Office's online system is now the primary method to register works. Online registration has several advantages, including: a lower filing fee, faster processing, secure electronic payment options (versus a check or money order), the ability to upload the script as an electronic file, and online status tracking. Here's how to register your screenplay online: Registration Process Overview, Screen 1. Start on Copyright Office registration website, input your login information, and click on "Register a New Claim." Screen 2. Click on "Start Registration." Screen 3. Select "Work of the Performing Arts" in the drop down menu. Screen 4. Select "Title of the Work Being Registered" and input the title of your script. Screen 5. Select "No" if your work hasn't been published (which is most likely). Remember, your work isn't considered published when you send it to agents or producers. Screen 6. Put your name as the author and select "No" for the Work for Hire question. Screen 7. Check off the "Text" box. Screen 8. If you're the claimant, put down your name and address (or your P.O. box). Screen 9. Leave the "Material Excluded/Previous Registration" page blank if this is your first registration and your script is original. If it's based on someone else's material, identify it in the "Other" box. Rights & Permissions Information. Add your name and address again. Correspondent. You know the drill -- name and address. Mail Certificate. Input the address to which you want the copyright certificate mailed. Special Handling. Leave blank. Certification. Check the "I certify" box and type in your name. Review Submission. Review your information. If you click the "Save Template" button, it'll save your information, so for future registrations, you'll only need to change the title of the work and year of completion. ...
continue reading

What Do Copyright, Trademark Symbols Mean?

You see copyright and trademark symbols everywhere, but what exactly do they mean? Generally speaking, they put a stamp on your ownership. Each of these symbols provides notice to the world that you are claiming legal rights in the mark or work. A few may require you to actually register your mark or work with the government. Here's an overview of what each of these symbols mean: Copyright: �. When you write a "C" with a circle around the letter, or use the word "copyright," you are giving notice to the public that the work is copyrighted and that you are the owner of the work. Next to the symbol, owners should include the year of first publication and the owner's full name. Inclusion of a "�" is no longer required to protect your work -- it's automatically protected when the work is created. But it's still a good idea to include it in order to fend off claims of innocent infringement (i.e., infringement that occurs when the infringer didn't know that the work was copyrighted). You don't need to get permission from, or register with, the Copyright Office to use the copyright notice. Unregistered trademark: � and SM. You may use the � on marks identifying tangible goods, and the SM on marks identifying services. Both of these symbols are used to give potential infringers notice that a term, slogan, logo, or other indicator is being claimed as a trademark. They are used for unregistered trademarks. However, including � or SM doesn't guarantee that the owner's mark will be protected under trademark laws. Registered trademark: �. The � symbol provides "statutory notice." It can only be used if your trademark is federally registered on either the Principal or Supplemental Registers maintained by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Use of � with any unregistered trademark can lead to claims of fraud or other obstacles in obtaining and/or enforcing trademark rights. For extra help on how to copyright or trademark your work, logos, or services, consult an experienced intellectual property lawyer in your area. Related Resources: Legal How-To: Looking Up Patents, Trademarks (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Protecting Your Invention (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Trayvon's Mom Wants to Trademark Her Son's Name (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) e-Book Authors May Need a Legal Book Review (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
continue reading