Copyright in the Film Industry

To own a copyright to something, is to own such thing in all its legal power. Owning a copyright gives you the only exclusive right to protect your own work from theft and even profit from it, because you own the copyright. Being the originator obviously gives you full right to perform and publish this work that is also protected by internationally recognised copyright laws. In this post, I’ll be making notice of copyright and how it can benefit filmmakers in the film world.

What are films essentially? They are works of art that comprise of two mediums merging, video and audio. Of course, there’s a lot of creative thought that also backs this merging, but that is taken as an idea or thought solely. So we can understand that all the technical and practical components of a film are justly protected by copyright law. However, the film’s idea and whatever takes place as plot cannot be protected by copyright. The protected components might include camera work, dialogue, sounds, and effects.

Since I aim to be a screenwriter, copyright law for screenplays interested me very much. Basically, you cannot protect or hold sole right to an idea, that is the whole point of copyright. Ideas can be vague at most times and even ubiquitous. The only way a screenwriter can ultimately protect his screenplay or “screen idea” is by giving it as much detail as he or she can. Detail? Yes, detail, you’re already going to write a 120 page screenplay, might as well write a detailed outline of your film idea to make it as different as it can be from others.

Ownership of your work can also be a daunting thing. Proving your work is actually your work requires much creative strength and critical thought. Always set out to register your work quickly, but have your work fully finished and detailed to your specific style so no one can accuse you of theft. It’s always best to follow the international or national laws of copyright to better enjoy owning your work and having it distributed, either for commercial or educational purposes, and being far from legal or personal trouble.



Grove, E. (2012, December 18). Ten Rules of Copyright for Screenwriters . Retrieved July 16, 2017, from




4 thoughts on “Copyright in the Film Industry

  1. You show a clear understanding of the copyright laws, and I like that you included your own interests such as being a screenwriter as an example of how copyright laws could work. The point I got from what you were saying is that copyright laws essentially forces us to be as creative as we possibly can, which is a good thing. I would have perhaps liked to hear a bit more of what we went over in class, but overall great work!


  2. Vell well structured, you’ve given a clear reflection of yourself that made this post interesting. I think you could have inserted some examples with references to make your topic readable to show what Copywrite is in the film industry.


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