Basic Intellectual Property – A Look at Copyright

November 13th, 2009 by davidkim


What is a copyright?

“Copyright” literally means the right to copy. The instant you commit your script or screenplay to paper, disc, video or film, you are a proud copyright holder… Congratulations, but now what should you do to protect your copyrights?

According to the US Library of Congress, movie scripts and screenplays and other theatrical works, like plays and monologues are categorized as “Performing Arts”. By definition, performing arts are those works that are intended to be “performed” directly before an audience or indirectly “by means of any device or process.”

Performing Arts

Performing arts works are intended to be “performed” directly before an audience or indirectly “by means of any device or process.” (1) musical works, including any accompanying words;
(2) dramatic works, such as scripts, including any accompanying music;
(3) pantomimes and choreographic works; and
(4) motion pictures and other audiovisual works.

Why do I need to protect or register the copyrights on my scripts or screenplays?
While you may own your copyright, you may have difficulty proving it. Problems can arise if you are required to provide credible evidence of when you first created your copyrights… In this Internet age, your scripts and screenplays can achieve international exposure, quite literally overnight. The sooner you can produce credible date-stamped evidence for your copyrights, the better off you will be in any copyright infringement action.

What is a copyright?

“Copyright” literally means the right to copy. Copyright is an internationally accepted form of intellectual property law. Copyrights protect the expression of ideas in literary, artistic and musical works.

Copyright laws protect:

Original works including choreography, literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works such as screenplays, poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture.

Copyright laws do not protect:

Facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although they may protect the way these intellectual properties are presented.