How to Copyright a Movie Script

By A.L. Kennedy

In the United States, copyright protection attaches to written works such as movie scripts as soon as they are fixed in a tangible medium, or written down. To be able to sue to protect your copyright and receive statutory damages, however, you will need to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registering a copyright in a movie script is a relatively simple process.

Step 1

Create at least two copies of your movie script. Your script may be printed or photocopied on paper, or it may be stored on a CD or other electronic medium. Since you will need to send two copies to the U.S. Copyright Office in order to register your copyright, you may wish to create more than two copies so that you have a copy after your application is sent in.

Step 2

Fill out the required copyright registration forms. For movie scripts, you may choose whether to fill out the forms online or on paper. If you fill out paper forms, you will need both Form CO, which covers basic information like your name and address, and Form TX, which covers the information about your movie script. If you fill out online forms, however, you will only need to fill out Form eCO, which contains spaces for both your information and information about the movie script you're planning to register.

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Step 3

Submit the form or forms you filled out, two copies of your movie script on paper or in a computerized format, and the required registration fee to the U.S. Copyright Office. The registration fee you owe depends on which form you used to register your copyright. If you registered electronically using Form eCO, the fee is $35 per movie script as of 2011. Your two copies count as a single movie script. If you registered on paper using Forms CO and TX, the fee is $50 per script as of 2011. You may pay by credit or debit card, money order, or cashier's check if you used Form eCO. If you used Form CO and Form TX, you must pay with a money order or cashier's check.

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