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Copyrighting Your Script: When is it a Good Idea?

Whether you’ve just completed your first script or are about to embark on your tenth one, it’s probably a good idea to know about copyrighting your script. In case you don’t know, copyrighting a screenplay is the best action you can take to protect it from getting stolen.

As naive as you might be, the truth is that there are a lot of evil people in the world who will gladly steal ideas from you. And as noted, the way to combat any situation like that from occurring is through copyrighting your script.

Since we’re on the subject, you’re probably wondering when you should go about copyrighting your script. Truth be told, it’s always a good idea to copyright any sort of writing or creative endeavor you do.

As for when you should go about it, it all depends on your situation. A lot of factors play into when it’s a good idea to copyright your script. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at those factors and help you figure out when it’s a good idea to consider copyrighting.

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Determine the Goals of Your Script

First and foremost, you should determine the goals of your script. My first script was strictly used as part of my resume to land a writing job. I wrote it as a way for myself to learn about screenwriting and to help build my writing profile. If you have a similar notion, then you probably don't have to worry about copyright.

However, if you’re like the majority of screenwriters, then you probably have the intention of getting your script made into something. If you’ve finished the final draft of your script and have been sending it out to different agents, managers, and producers, then you should definitely copyright it as soon as possible.

Like I said earlier, you never know when someone might steal something from your script and use it for their own good. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

What is Your Current Financial Situation?

Like anything that comes in life, it costs money to copyright. Unfortunately, a lot of us who are thrown into the world of writing aren’t the most financially wealthy individuals. The lack of wealth is especially the case for beginners or novice writers.

If you're living paycheck to paycheck, then I understand how rough it can be for you to gather up the sum of money to copyright your script. Believe when I say that I am not a stranger to living in a condition like that.

However, what you need to understand is that when your script is ready to be sent out to people, it’s in your own best interest to copyright it. Plus, it’s not as expensive as you might think.

For online applications, to copyright a script, it runs between $35 and $55. Take a few weeks to save the money up if you have to.

Is Your Script Ready for Copyright?

No matter what your financial situation is, you don’t have to copyright your script until it’s completely finished. For example, if you just started a script, then you don’t have to worry about copyright for quite some time.

Even if you have a finished draft, don’t worry about copyrighting it just yet. Go through the editing process, and once it’s ready to be sent out to people or contests, then you can go about copyrighting it.

Even though copyright is as essential as it is for scripts, it's not something you have to do as soon as you begin typing. Only when other eyes are going to look at your script, do you have to worry about copyright.

Plus, there is some protection for your document as soon as you begin writing that applies to any creative endeavor. Actual copyrighting just takes it a step further to ensure your security.


Hopefully, we answered your question of when it's a good time for you to copyright your script. To quickly recap everything, although there is a basic form of protection with any written work that's in an original protection, copyrighting will guarantee your script is protected from being stolen from.

Thus, why it’s so important for writers in any field to do. Remember that you don’t have to worry about copyrighting it until you plan on sending it to people or contests. Once that day arrives, you should immediately fill out the online or paper application to copyright your script.


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