Brian Brunkow, an entertainment attorney based out of southern California, gives us the skinny on what legal considerations the indie filmmaker needs to think about and helps us navigate the tricky world of the Copyright Office, the WGA (Writers Guild of America – West) and protecting your intellectual property. Learn more about Brian at http://mindvenue.com/.
A few additional notes Brian asked that we include after posting his interview: WGA represents writers for TV and film. It is a union and requires industry work for membership but non-members may register their scripts, treatments thru this group as a cheap, quick alternative to the copyright office.
Do new writers have to give up legal protection to get their foot in the door in Hollywood? To clarify his response, Brian writes that “writers should take steps prior to submitting scripts and meeting with agents/managers or producers by (1) registering with the WGA or Copyright Office, (2) carefully review (and understand) Releases they are asked to sign prior to any submission or meeting and (3) establish when “pay for use of idea or script” kicks in.”
So, taking basic steps on the front end is important but it is also important to get the script out there to be read and passed around – this creates a somewhat unavoidable risk of theft but there are thousands of literary works registered with the WGA per year so it is a risk each writer needs to evaluate given their circumstances.
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