You may have heard that last week the Supreme Court ruled that in order to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement, the copyright owner must first receive the copyright registration certificate (or receive a rejection notice from the Copyright Office). As a result, people have asked me, “Larry, does that mean I should wait until after I receive the certificate before sending my script out to producers?”
The quick and easy answer to this is “No.” While I believe it’s essential for writers to register their scripts with the Copyright Office, as long as you have filed the application, you can immediately start sending the script out. While it will take months for you to receive the certificate, the certificate will be dated the date the Copyright Office received the application (i.e., if you file on January 1st, the certificate will be dated January 1st, even though you may not receive the certificate until May or June.)
As a result, there is no reason to wait. If a producer is going to rip-off your script, it is still going to take some time for him to get an infringing movie made and out in the theaters. And by that time you will have received your certificate. And, if you haven’t, there is an option whereby you pay $800 and the Copyright Office will expedite the application. But that almost certainly won’t be necessary. So, feel free to send your script out as soon as you have filed the application. Good Luck!
Do you have your own questions for Larry or a legal problem that you need assistance with? Please call or email Larry at 310-773-3623 or [email protected].