Screenwriters: Why You Need a Lawyer

Screenwriters: Why You Need a LawyerIn creative fields, the projects you create can originally come from other source material, but the inspiration behind them are unique to your imagination. As such, there is a natural tendency to want to ensure each project is adequately protected in terms of intellectual property law, but also when it is the subject of further creative work. In the film and TV industries, many projects are, in fact, based on scripts created by screenwriters. It is crucial that a screenwriter has an experienced entertainment lawyer as they will have to interact with various parties who wish to work with the script.

There are two aspects a screenwriter must think of: what happens when a producer wants to option your script and, if applicable, who own the rights to the script as creators of it? Part of the career success of screenwriting is that a producer/studio will want to move forward with your project and create a film or TV show based on it. If this is to occur, the producer and screenwriter must have an option agreement. This agreement gives the producer the exclusive rights to the script and allows them to work with it. Such an agreement must be carefully written, as it deals with the conferring of intellectual property rights. Having an attorney to advise you regarding each contract is paramount, as this will ensure you enter into agreements that are best suited to your needs.

Furthermore, many screenwriters work together to create a script or screenplay. In this case, two or more people will have the rights to the work. Before actually embarking on creating the script, it is advisable that the screenwriters seek the counsel of an attorney and draw up an agreement that delineates many of the important issues, like distribution of revenue from the script, credits, and intellectual property rights. Having a written agreement with some of these key concerns figured out will ensure that preventable legal problems don’t become a burden later on.

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