How to Copyright a Movie Script

By Si Kingston
Copyright a Movie Script
Copyright. image by Blue Moon from Fotolia.com

If you've created a movie script, you automatically hold copyright. But you can further protect your work by registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office or the Writer's Guild of America West or East (WGA). You can copyright your work with both agencies online. The U.S. Copyright Office and the WGA will both provide a dated record of your claim to authorship of the literary work.

Writer's Guild of America

Make sure your script is formatted in an acceptable file format. Acceptable file formats are listed in the Resources section.

Go to WGA.org (WGA West) or WGAEast.org (WGA East). It doesn't actually matter through which organization you register, but being associated with the union closest to you will allow you to participate in events, classes and workshops.

Select the "Register Your Script" link at the bottom of the web page.

Select "Register Online" to register and submit your movie script via the web. See the Resources section for information on how to register your script by mail.

Enter in your script and registrant details such as the script title and your social security number, name, email address and address. Also select "Add an author" if the movie script has more than one author.

Enter your credit card account number and other details to pay the small fee required for registration.

Click "Continue" and upload your script to the WGA for copyright registration.

United States Copyright Office

Make sure your movie script is saved in a permissible file format. See Resources for acceptable formats.

Go to the United States Copyright Office website at http://www.copyright.gov.

Select the "Electronic Copyright Office" icon.

Create an account with the Copyright Office. Toward the bottom of the page, click on "If you are a new user, click here to register." Enter in your personal information such as your name, address, phone number and email address. Select "Finish" to complete your registration.

Start an application for copyright by selecting "Register a New Claim" on your account page. Then select the "Start Registration" link. Type in the requested information about your movie script including the title of the script, the date the script was created, and the mailing address to mail the certificate of copyright. You will then upload your work, and complete the registration by submitting payment with a credit card.