The Austin Film Meet Wordsmiths held their first meeting on October 12, 2010, and presented an important topic Understanding Copyright and Protecting Your Stories. Read Official Event Notice. Thanks to Don R and Tina Davis for an excellent and insightful presentation. Here’s a recap:

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• Intellectual property is ideas. Make sure you make written copies of your work (anything that you create).

• Registering at -guarantees you are copyright protected with the federal government.

• Formulas are not under copyright protection (for example: love stories). It’s the characters that are protected under copyright.

• Keep all paperwork from the beginning to the end so that you can PROVE it was your idea.

• You need physical evidence of your work to copyright it with the government.

• If you’re going to sell your idea… you need to get an NDA.

• Generalize your ideas to protect yourself but also give information to grab the producers.

• Non-union writers do not have legal protection from the WGA like members do.

• NEVER submit your work to production companies without an NDA.

• Always pitch in person, never just mail stuff out.

• Starting a paper trail— send it to yourself in the mail… DO NOT OPEN! After it’s opened it doesn’t count as evidence in a trial setting over copyright infringement.