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Copyright Series Bible?

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Paul Hewitt's picture
Rockstar
Joined: Jun 2021
Copyright Series Bible?

I am considering posting my series bible on this site. My pilot (which is posted on SR) is registered with WGAW. Need I do the same with my bible? Can I? I mean, can you copyright an evolving document? 

Lily Blaze's picture
Rockstar
Joined: Aug 2019

Long answer short, no. The US laws are especially adamant about the fact that you can not copyright an idea. You can copyright something tangible such as a script, movie, song, painting, etc, etc.

WGAW is a membership, not a copyright registration, Not officially anyway.

Register with the US Copyright Office. It's cheaper online, quick and easy. You get a registration number within a couple of days, when it's done online. Once you have a registered number, and if you decide to upload the bible, on the ScriptRevolution page for your pilot, you can put in your number and your bible will be covered by that. If, however, you still don't feel comfortable uploading the bible, you could just add on the script page something along the lines of, bible available on request.

Paul Hewitt's picture
Rockstar
Joined: Jun 2021

Thank you, Lily. I will register as you recommend. I will offer the bible on request.

Cheers

CJ Walley's picture
Verified
Joined: Jul 2016

Don't rely on WGA registration. It's not very good on it's own. Go with Library of Congress (LoC).

You can copyright the bible itself but the core ideas behind the story cannot be protected.

Raymond Zachariasse's picture
Verified
Joined: Dec 2017

Is LoC or anything like that also interesting for international members? I am using WGA at the moment as Coverfly wants it. 

Lily Blaze's picture
Rockstar
Joined: Aug 2019

It's a legal thing. To make sure your registered copyright is recognized by all countries in the world, LoC is the only way to go. If, however, you only want to register locally, then look into local copyright laws. I'm in Canada. My scripts, without a LoC registration, could be considered by Canadian production companies, TV networks, and related. Canada doesn't have much of a movie industry. However, many Canadian companies have international deals, where a LoC registration number is mandatory.

Long story short, it's just best to register with the LoC, no matter where you live. It's only needed once, and then you're set for life.

CJ Walley's picture
Verified
Joined: Jul 2016

LoC is mainly for protection in America as it's not a member of the Berne Convention. It also gives you a right to statutory damages if your case is proven correct and thus more lawyers will be willing to represent you.

Steve Garry's picture
authenticated user
Joined: Sep 2016

> America as it's not a member of the Berne Convention

I've always approached the U.S. LoC registration as the gold standard that's recognized world-wide, similar to how their dollar is in the world economy - though that may change some day soon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention#List_of_countries_and_reg...

In addition, and even though I'm in Canada, the U.S. registration is as cheap as or cheaper than my own country's copyright registration, Writers' Guild registration, etc.  I like the U.S. on-line user interface and can knock off a (c) registration in just a few minutes, now that I've done lots of them.  But if you make a mistake (don't follow instructions explicitly), they'll hit you with a negative decision and a $250 appeal process which isn't feasible for most.  However, on small issues they'll follow-up with questions at no extra cost.  I've had to deal with both situations.

Lily Blaze's picture
Rockstar
Joined: Aug 2019

Writers Guild of Canada charges a fortune. It was one of the first things I researched before I finished writing my first script. Complete rip-off, high fees, and nothing in return. Besides, it's a membership, a club for elites, nothing more.

Another major advantage to LoC is discounts for registering multiple titles. As far as I know, LoC is the only one that's recognized world-wide and offers bulk discounts. Fair warning, though. It's a government website and a bit clunky. So, approach with care.

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