OK If you want to register your script with the WGA I have a treat for you.
Step by step information in 3 different formats.
Just use the one you prefer.
First choice a step by step video that shows you how to register with the WGA.
Second a quick Infographic summary.
And finally a more detailed set of instructions in text for those of you who prefer that.
VIDEO: Registering Your Script with the WGA
Quick Guide: How To Register Your Script With the WGA Info-Graphic
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Step By Step Registering Your Script With the WGA:
In the video I instruct you to go to: www.wga.org. Under the QUICK LINKS section, click REGISTER YOUR SCRIPT.
Since this video was mad they have made it easier and you just need to go to: https://www.wgawregistry.org/ and click on REGISTER NOW.
You’ve just finished your script or treatment. Eager to get the ball rolling, you call in a favor and your producer friend sends your work along to several of his contacts at studios, networks and production companies.
Unfortunately, you are told that the timing isn’t right and no one picks it up.
Several years later, you are sitting on your couch and you happen to catch the pilot for a new television show. The longer you watch, the more you realize that the main character is a carbon copy of the character from your work! The show is a smash hit and you’re completely outraged (and poor).
Welcome to every writer’s worst nightmare. What can you do to protect yourself?
Well the place to start is with WGA Registration and this article is going to tell you how to do it!
The first thing you want to do to avoid the situation we described is to register your work with the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA). Whether selling your work to a major studio, network, or production company, registration of your literary material is vital. In fact, for liability reasons, some agencies and production companies want you to have your work registered in case they end up developing a similar work in the future that may have been created before your work. A WGA registration documents the creation date.
The purpose of a WGA registration is to establish and document the completion date of the literary property and protect the writer from plagiarism or theft. With a constant flow of projects being pitched to executives on a daily basis, it is not uncommon for some concepts to become muddled over time until finally, their origins are completely lost. A writer must protect himself or herself against this by establishing a date of creation through the WGA registry.
Not only is WGA registration used as an evidentiary tool, but in the event of litigation, the WGA will provide one of their employees to appear and testify concerning the date of the registration. Registration is a small step that you can take to protect yourself and the good news is that the process is simple, quick and affordable. WGA registration is available to anyone, anywhere, whether or not you are a member of the WGA.
U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE REGISTRATION:
It is very important that you remember that using the WGA registry is not the only means to protect your literary property. WGA registration should always be a first step but the registration process and protection of your work should not end there.
WGA registration does not in itself provide legal protection; rather, it merely provides evidence of the work’s existence. In order to receive more comprehensive legal protection for a literary work, writers should ALWAYS take further steps to register their work with the U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.
(Some industry insiders even claim that WGA registration has become an unnecessary expense in the registration process and should be cut out completely.)
Though U.S. Copyright registration can provide writers with greater legal protection –timing is EVERYTHING. Under §412 of the U.S. Copyright Act, in the event of a lawsuit against an infringer, registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is required prior to the commencement of the infringement.
If the writer registers the work with the U.S. Copyright Office after the infringement has taken place, he or she will be barred from recovering attorneys fees or statutory damages. Since registration can take up to six months for processing (unless the writer applies for expedited processing for an additional $580 charge), time is of the essence.
As a general rule of thumb, a writer should always register a script within 90 days of first publication.
Taking these simple steps can make a big difference. If a script is properly registered at the time of the infringement, a court can award anywhere from $150,000 or above in statutory damages for willful infringement.
However, without this registration the screenwriter is barred from recovering statutory damages and will have no choice but to pay high attorney fees out of pocket.
If you’re a writer, the best thing you can do is heed on the side of caution. First and foremost, go ahead and register your scripts with the U.S. Copyright Office AND as an extra precaution, register with the WGA. If you have scripts that have yet to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, do so as soon as possible.
Both registrations will cost you under $100 and can save you a great deal of time, money and heartache in the long run.
HOW TO REGISTER WITH THE WGA:
For WGA registration, visit www.wga.org. Under the QUICK LINKS section, click REGISTER YOUR SCRIPT.
(updated: you can now just go directly to: https://www.wgawregistry.org/ and click on REGISTER NOW. )
Here, you can upload a copy of your screenplay, treatment, pitch or synopsis. The registration fee is $20 or $10 for guild members. With online registration, you will instantly receive a confirmation with your WGA number.
Please note that in order to complete the registration process, you will need the SSN and full legal names of all of the authors. Mail registration is also available and will typically take 4 weeks or less.
For registration with the U.S. Copyright Office, visit: http://copyright.gov. Click on the link for ELECTRONIC COPYRIGHT OFFICE.
The registration fee is $40. Mail in registration is also available and will typically take about 8 weeks. Though processing is slower than WGA, renewal is not required for the lifetime of the author. For more information you can visit: http://www.copyright.gov/eco/faq.html.
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