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ACCESS.  It is the Number 1 ingredient to winning your case against someone who steals your screenplay.  YOU HAVE TO SHOW ACCESS.  If you pay SAG and cover the actors, you can PUBLISH "THE READING" ON TV, than 6 months after it airs, if someone who lives in the area has or releases a movie you believe is based on Your Screenplay then you can SUE THEM.  You can Prove ACCESS as long as they have access to the local Malibu Cable station. 

Additionally, the MSRG suggests that when you send people a copy of the DVD or Tape, please send it overnight with signature necessary for receipt.  Airborne second day service was our choice and it cost half of what other services cost.  The MSRG also suggests sending all your screenplays this way. 

If you sign one of their Release Forms you have little to no way to make a claim or get any money from the claim.  If you get it on DVD/Tape with us, you file the tape at the U.S. Copyright Office and then send the tape.  You probably won't be asked to sign a Release Form since it's just a DVD/Tape and since it's already been published by having it aired on TV. 

Even if you don't Publish it by paying for the Actors and just use the DVD/Tape to submit to Distributors, Foreign Buyers, Producers, Agents, Investors and other qualified people who are directly related to Raising Funds for the Movie or getting your Screenplay Sold, it may be considered Published and your Airborne receipt would serve to prove Access.  Alternatively, when the Archive Section of this Website is up and running, the aforesaid people will have to sign on with a Membership ID to gain access to the Archives to see your material.  If you ever need to prove access, we will have it stored in our Website Records of who signed on and what Readings they looked at.  Again, proof of Access.  Greater proof then you had with the Script. 

What does the Copyright protect? 

Only the words in the exact order in which they were written for the entirety of the literary piece.   It does not protect the idea and is very hard to enforce unless they steal the words exactly as written and you can prove they had ACCESS.

What does the Writers' Guild Registration protect?

It's simply used as evidence that as of the day it was registered, YOU had the idea and wrote it down in this format.  If someone else had the idea after you and you do not prove ACCESS, you have no case.  They might have been influenced by the same external and internal processes that you were influenced by and may have come up with the idea on their own since ultimately all Writers are just channeling information that is out there in the Universe. 

This is why every case that has been brought in the Film Business of someone stealing a Writer's work has been circumstantial.

The MSRG is an Additional Form of Protection for your Screenplay.  By videotaping The Reading and especially if it's aired or published by putting it in the Archives of our Website, you have the Greatest Protection with the easiest way to prove ACCESS.

 

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Copyright 2001 The Malibu Screenplay Reading Group (MSRG)
Last modified: June 10, 2002