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Screenplay WGA Registration

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#1
Have any of you guys registered your screenplays with the WGA? I’m ready to apply for some grants to produce a short film and wonder if I should take this step. Can any seasoned vets here clue me in on this?
 
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#2
Registering your script with the WGA is Screenwriting 101. In fact a lot of writers register their scripts with both the WGA and the Library of Congress. Some writers even register every draft of their script as they complete it.

While we're on the subject, never go the "poor man's copyright" route. PMCs don't hold up in court because, while it dates the package, it doesn't prove you're the original author of what's in it. WGA and/or LoC, all the way.
 
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#3
Registering your script with the WGA is Screenwriting 101. In fact a lot of writers register their scripts with both the WGA and the Library of Congress. Some writers even register every draft of their script as they complete it.

While we're on the subject, never go the "poor man's copyright" route. PMCs don't hold up in court because, while it dates the package, it doesn't prove you're the original author of what's in it. WGA and/or LoC, all the way.
What is a 'PMC'?
 
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#4
Poor Man's Copyright is when you put your script in an envelope and seal it, perhaps even in the presence of a Notary Public who then marks it, and you send it to yourself with a legible postmark on it. Once it arrives, you hold it unopened as evidence that it existed prior to the plagiarist's earliest copy. However, as Lon says, it is not evidence of authorship, just possession. It may be able to call into question the plagiarist's authorship, however.
 
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#5
Poor Man's Copyright is when you put your script in an envelope and seal it, perhaps even in the presence of a Notary Public who then marks it, and you send it to yourself with a legible postmark on it. Once it arrives, you hold it unopened as evidence that it existed prior to the plagiarist's earliest copy. However, as Lon says, it is not evidence of authorship, just possession. It may be able to call into question the plagiarist's authorship, however.
Is the updated version of that emailing the script to yourself?
 
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#6
Hard copy is physical and possibly better evidence of prior possession if not prior authorship. Email may be evidence, but in the eyes of a court it may be seen as untrustworthy, possibly hacked, somehow. I doubt it would be equivalent.
 
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#7
The only "fool proof" way to protect your screenplay is to get a copyright from the Library of Congress. Even registering it with the WGA isn't fool proof in court.

Having said that, all of mine have been registered with the WGA and only one has been through the copyright process.
 
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#8
Technically, you own the copyright of your script the moment you write it. Registering at the WGA or LOC is third-party proof of the date of authorship. WGA Registration has been shown to be weak in court. LOC is the way to go.

(ProTip: If you have a pile of ten scripts you want to register at LOC, compile them into a single document, and register it as an anthology. One fee, same protection.)

Also, understand that in order to win a copyright infringement case, you have to prove that your script was created first, that the infringer had access to your script, and that the resulting infringement was substantively similar to yours. The last one is the killer; short of them just changing the title page, this is very hard to prove.
 
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#9
Several grant applications stipulate WGA registration over LoC. Figure I’d go that route first. These things can get kinda pricey. Necessary evil, I guess.
 
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