1. As you write your original screenplay, be aware of what sources you are drawing your work from. It's okay to be inspired by another work, but you must always be sensitive to the line between inspiration and copying. (See Appendix A: Copyright Infringement, p. 269.)
2. If you are copying a portion of another person's work, even in part, you should analyze your use under copyright law to see whether you need to obtain permission. (See Copyright Law, p. 249; Adaptations, p. 88; Copyright Searches and Permissions, p. 102.)
3. Once your screenplay is written, you should register its copyright with the US Copyright Office. (See Copyright Registration, p. 268.) All copies of the script should have a prominently displayed copyright notice on the cover. (See Copyright Notice, p. 110.)
Example: "Food for Worms: the Exciting World of Compost" © 2006 Woodrow Writer
4. Before your film is shot, you will need to assign the script's copyright to the production company that shoots it. Be sure you understand which rights you are granting (at a minimum, the theatrical motion picture right) and which rights, if any, you are retaining. (See Copyright Assignments, p. 76; Option/Purchase p. 74.)
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