When you, as a writer, have an idea for the next great screenplay you might be surprised to hear that you can not under any circumstances copyright that idea. This is because it is just that, an idea. Someone else might genuinely have the same great idea. Or, say they have. While your idea exists only in your mind's eyes there is no way for you to establish that you had that killer idea first.
So, the first step to copyrighting your idea is to get it out of your head and put it in to a form that can be seen and in the case of a screenplay, read by others. Once you have done this you will be pleased to hear that you now automatically own the full copyright to that work. This applies around the world including in the UK, Europe, US and even China. - So far so good!
Now, what happens if someone else sees your great masterpiece and decides they will take it without telling you or worse still they say that YOU stole it from them? How would you prove them wrong and establish that the work was originally yours? If all you have is a copy of your screenplay on your computer or a printed copy in the drawer of your desk, that would not be sufficient to prove ownership.
Because having a computer file on YOUR computer or a printed copy in YOUR drawer doesn't prove when you created that version of the screenplay or if you created it before someone else. You might have recently created that file or paper copy and say you created it years before. It would simply be your word against someone elses.
But all files have a date and timestamp. Won't that prove when I wrote my script?
No, unfortunately not. While Date and Time stamps may be correct when a file is created, they can easily be changed afterwards to any desired date and time. So they have no value as evidence.
Couldn't I post a copy to myself?
Posting a copy to yourself or a "friend" and not opening the envelope is called Poor Man's copyright and unfortunately offers no prove at all that you haven't found some clever way of tampering with the contents of the envelope or faked the date stamp. The solution is to remove yourself from the debate and introduce an INDEPENDENT third party that will support your claim with evidence that proves they received a copy of your screenplay on a certain date and that would be evidence that can not be disputed.
...And this is where our Copyright Validation Service can help.
When you use our Copyright Validation Service you can upload a PDF of your work. This will be held online in a secure vault and our independent service will date and time stamp and retain it, ready for submission should you ever need proof of originality. You will also be issued with a CERTIFICATE of Receipt and a Certificate link for each upload. If you wish to you can share this viewing link securely and you will be notified when anyone uses it to view your Certificate.
What if I want to change my script later?
The choice is yours. You can simply upload your new PDF file (another £1/month) and this new version will be stored with your original script. This actually INCREASES the proof of your copyright because not only can you show your final script, you can demonstrate your work and thought process to prove how you arrived at this point with your work. Or if you prefer, just contact us and we will arrange to replace your stored document with the new version and issue a new certificate.
You will not be charged for the first 12-months. (£1/month thereafter)
To use this service and receive the first 12 months FREE, complete the details below to subscribe.After 12 months you will be charged just £1 by PayPal each month you leave your screenplay deposited in our vault.Try our service.
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To view your existing submissions please use this link or the one supplied with your Certificate. Click here