How to Word a Copyright Notice for a Screenplay

By Robin Elizabeth Margolis

A screenplay is the written script of a film and it is automatically protected by copyright from the moment you write it down. You are no longer required to place a copyright notice on your work to gain this protection; nevertheless, a properly formatted copyright notice on your screenplay identifies you as the creator of the work and notifies the public that you are actively protecting your work. If anyone tries to publish your screenplay without your permission or claims it as his own, a copyright notice will make it difficult for that person to argue in court that your copyright was infringed unintentionally.

A screenplay is the written script of a film and it is automatically protected by copyright from the moment you write it down. You are no longer required to place a copyright notice on your work to gain this protection; nevertheless, a properly formatted copyright notice on your screenplay identifies you as the creator of the work and notifies the public that you are actively protecting your work. If anyone tries to publish your screenplay without your permission or claims it as his own, a copyright notice will make it difficult for that person to argue in court that your copyright was infringed unintentionally.

Step 1

Begin your copyright notice with the letter "c" in lower case. Enclose the letter in parentheses as follows: (c). Alternately, you can spell out the world "Copyright" or write the letter "c" with a circle around it.

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Step 2

Put a blank space after the copyright symbol or word. Following the blank space, add the current year in numerals, such as "2012."

Step 3

Add a space after the year and then type your legal name or the name of the entity claiming the copyright. Your final copyright notice should appear similar to the following: (c) 2012 Richard Jones

Step 4

Add a co-author's name in your copyright notice, if you collaborated on the work with another person. Your co-author's name should follow your name with the word “and” inserted in between. For example: "Richard Jones and Janice Smith."

Step 5

Append the words "All Rights Reserved" to the copyright notice, if desired. This phrase is no longer required by law and holds no legal weight, but it is still used in many modern copyright notices. Your copyright notice will read: (c) 2012 Richard Jones. All rights reserved.

Step 6

Place the copyright notice on your screenplay at the bottom of the title page. The notice may be placed in other locations within your script, but many sample screenplays show the preferred location of the copyright notice is the bottom of the title page.

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How Do I Correctly Format a Copyright?

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