Script Registration

Screenwriters Federation of America exclusively recommends the National Creative Registry’s intellectual property protection service ProtectRite as our preferred registration partner. Founded in California in 1994 by writers and attorneys, National Creative Registry's ProtectRite service processes thousands of online registrations each year from writers, screenwriters, attorneys, songwriters, advertising agencies, Internet & software developers, inventors, scientists, individuals and corporations worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

REGISTRATION
Do I have to be a member of the SFA to register?

Why should I register?
What type of works can be registered?
Who has access to my registration?
Can titles be registered/protected?
Can I add, edit or update my registration after registering?
What is the registration fee and how long is my work registered?
How does ProtectRite compare to the Writer's Guild registration?
What format should my registration file be in?
Do I receive some sort of registration certificate?
Can I renew my registration?

COPYRIGHT
Is registering with ProtectRite or any other registration service a US Copyright?
Should I register my script and copyright it with the Library of Congress?

ACCESS, SECURITY & STORAGE
Who has access to my registration?
What do I do if I need an emergency copy of my registration?
How do I withdraw a registration?
How is my registration stored for protection?

Do I have to be a member of the SFA to register?
No. Registration is available for members and non-members of the SFA.

Why should I register?
ProtectRite registration creates a digital timestamp, assists in establishing proof of completion date and provides a documented record of your claim to authorship, ownership, and creation. If needed, a ProtectRite representative will produce registered materials at an arbitration hearing or in a court of law.

What type of works can be registered?
Any original intellectual property may be registered to document the original date of creation. Original works include, but are not limited to: synopsis, treatments, outlines, rough drafts, screenplays, stageplays, short stories, poems, novels, etc.

Who has access to my registration?
Only the registered author(s). Upon receipt, your work is immediately encrypted and placed in long-term storage. We have three separate redundant storage systems to ensure your file is secure and protected. When you register, you can print your registration certificate immediately or note the registration number and utilize the Registration Verification link to retrieve your certificate as often as you wish.

Requests for access to registered materials can only be made by the original registrant accompanied by registration number and notarized letter.

Can titles be registered/protected?
Titles cannot be protected.

Can I add, edit or update my registration after registering?
Absolutely not. The primary purpose of registration is to establish the completion date of your original work. Once a work is registered, the registration file cannot be modified or altered in any way.

What is the registration fee and how long is my work registered?
Our $18.95 fee is for ten-year registration. We accept Mastercard, Visa & American Express and use secure servers to protect your privacy. At any time in the registration period, you can renew for an additional ten-year term by mailing us the appropriate fee. Renewals are accepted up to one-month prior to expiration. At the time of registration, you authorize National Creative Registry to destroy your file without further notice to you on the expiration date in the event you choose not to renew. ProtectRite does not make comparisons of registration submissions or give any legal advice or confer any statutory protections.

How does ProtectRite compare to the Writer's Guild registration?
ProtectRite offers the exact same protection as the Writer's Guild registration service for less money and longer terms. $18.95 for ten-year registration as opposed to $20 for five-year registration.

What format should my registration file be in?
We accept and verify all formats, but please submit/upload only one file for each registration.

Do I receive some sort of registration certificate?
When you register, you can print your registration certificate immediately or note the registration number and utilize the Registration Verification link to retrieve your certificate as often as you wish.

Can I renew my registration?
At any time in the registration period, you can renew for an additional ten-year term by mailing us the appropriate fee. Renewals are accepted up to one-month prior to expiration. At the time of registration, you authorize National Creative Registry to destroy your file without further notice to you on the expiration date in the event you choose not to renew.

Is registering with ProtectRite or any other registration service a US Copyright?
Only The US Copyright Office can issue a formal copyright, however, the law states that when you affix your name and date to an original work you are automatically entitled to copyright protection. In the cases where our type of registration has been presented as evidence, it has been accepted as a copyright. Writers: Since the copyright office takes an average of six-months to process applications, many writers register with us for instant peace of mind and as an added protection so they can begin showing their work immediately.

We want our registrants to be well protected and do advise that writers explore filing final drafts with the US Copyright office. Also, always save all correspondence with anyone you send your work to. A rejection letter can be important evidence in an infringement case.

Should I register my script and copyright it with the Library of Congress?
We want our registrants to be well protected and do advise that writers explore filing final drafts with the US Copyright office. Remember, nothing great is ever written, it’s rewritten. Registration is particularly useful in the writing process for treatments, outlines, first drafts and all works in progress. Once you have a polished final draft, we highly recommend filing for a copyright with the Library of Congress. This is absolutely vital if you are trying to sell your script. See copyright section below for more info.
Also, always save all correspondence with anyone you send your work to. A rejection letter can be important evidence in an infringement case.

Who has access to my registration?
Only the registered author(s). Requests for access to registered materials can only be made by the original registrant(s) accompanied by registration number and notarized letter.

What do I do if I need an emergency copy of my registration?
Original registrant(s) may request an emergency copy of their registration file be sent to them via email free of charge. Requests will only be accepted from the email address specified at the time of registration. Upon approval, registration files will only be emailed to registered address.

How do I withdraw a registration?
Requests for access to registered materials can only be made by the original registrant(s) accompanied by registration number and notarized letter. To request that a registration be withdrawn, original registrant must submit a notarized letter via mail to:
ProtectRite
Nat'l Creative Registry
1106 Second Street
Encinitas, CA 92024

info@protectrite.com

If registration is in the names of more than one individual, notarized letters must be submitted by each registrant to withdraw registration. If a registrant is deceased, proof of death and written consent of his/her representatives or heirs must be submitted.

How is my registration stored for protection?
Upon receipt, your work is immediately encrypted and placed in long-term storage. We have three separate redundant storage systems to ensure your file is secure and protected.

Copyright

COPYRIGHT IN GENERAL
What is copyright?
What does copyright protect?
How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?
When is my work protected?
Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
Is my copyright good in other countries?

What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

What does copyright protect?
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?
Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.

When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.

Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.

I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.

Is my copyright good in other countries?
The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other's citizens' copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country.

For further information on current fees, call the Copyright Public Information Office at (202) 707-3000, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The TTY number is (202) 707-6737.
Or, you may write for information to:

Library of Congress
Copyright Office
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE - LITERARY WORKS

Follow these steps to register your book, manuscript, screenplay, online work, poetry, or other text:

Step 1 - Make sure your work is a literary work. Literary works may be published or unpublished and include nondramatic textual works with or without illustrations. Computer programs and databases also are considered literary works.

Step 2 - Put into one envelope or package: 1). A completed TX Application Form. 2). a $30 payment to “Register of Copyrights.” 3). Nonrefundable copy(ies) of the material to be registered.

Step 3 - Send the package to: Library of Congress. Copyright Office, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

Your registration becomes effective on the day that the Copyright Office receives your application, payment, and copy(ies) in acceptable form. If your submission is in order, you will receive a certificate of registration in 4 to 5 months.