What is copyright?

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Copyright arises automatically when you create your script or story. It does not have to be formally registered in order to come into effect. For a work to be eligible for copyright protection however it MUST be written down, recorded, and be reduced to material form. Should there be a dispute as to who is the owner of the copyright in a certain script or story; you need to be in a position to prove that you are the owner.

There are different ways in which you can create this kind of proof, with some not as effective as others:

  1. You can register your script with the WGSA Script Registry. (see info in the question above).
  2. You can include the copyright sign ©, on every page of your work followed by your full name and the year of creation.
  3. You can register your script with CIPRO info@cipro.gov.za
  4. You can post your signed work to yourself, and keep it in a sealed envelope. This is a form of proof that the work was created by you before the date stamp on the envelope.
  5. You can get a Commissioner of Oaths to stamp and date every page or every second page. You can do this by going to your neighbourhood police station.
  6. Do not email your script or story to potential producers without any protection. Once it has been received via email, it is easy for an unscrupulous person to make small changes to the script, and then claim it as their own work. ALWAYS back up your sent emails.

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