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Ask Robert McEwen, Esq. Your Own Question
Robert McEwen, Esq.
Robert McEwen, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 16189
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I have an idea and concept for a commercial for a major company.

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I have an idea and concept for a commercial for a major company. I have written the script for the first scenario and recorded and voiced the first of what could be a series. How do I protect myself form having the agency turn me down and then go ahead and use my idea?

RobertMcEwenEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

RobertMcEwenEsq :

If you're really concerned about someone stealing your ideas, you can register it with the US Copyright Office. A script would use Form TX (http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formtx.pdf)

RobertMcEwenEsq :

You could also register the copyright online.

RobertMcEwenEsq :

under US law, a copyrightable work is automatically copyrighted. So even though it is not registered with the US copyright office, once it is created it is under copyright protection. If you can show that you created it before they had the "idea" then you could have some legal recourse

RobertMcEwenEsq :

These days, the "poor man's copyright" is as easy as sending it in an email format to yourself and a trusted friend.

RobertMcEwenEsq :

the downside of this version of copyright is that, if it's not registered with the US copyright office, then your remedies are limited. The upside is that you don't have to pay the copyright fee every single time you want to prove authorship of something that you came up with.

Customer:

I have my own recording studio and there is an automatic date stamp on all recordings so this should cover me?

RobertMcEwenEsq :

if it is something that can be modified by the user, in that you could make any recording appear to be recorded at any time, past or future, that probably would not help. Rather, you want to show some sort of timestamp that would not be able to be changed by you or within your own power to change.

RobertMcEwenEsq :

The timestamp will certainly help, however you should have an additional step of sending it to your self and a friend via email, which the email provides a timestamp set by the email server. That something out of your control, and would be far more persuasive than something in your control.

Customer:

Do you think the poor man copyright version insomuch as sending the recording on CD and transcript of the copy to my lawyer would provide sufficient protection?

RobertMcEwenEsq :

I think that sending it to yourself for sending it to your lawyer would provide the same level of protection, however it is not as strong as registering it with the US copyright office. Again the downside is it is a weaker form of protection, however the upside is that it is cheaper, and if you have various versions of your copyrighted work, and don't want to have to copyright each and every one of them, the poor man's copyright certainly would be cheaper.

Customer:

OK, Thank you.

RobertMcEwenEsq :

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

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