If you’re a writer, then you probably understand the importance of your intellectual property (IP). In the competitive entertainment industry, protecting your IP is critical to your success.

One way to protect a script you wrote is to register it with the federal copyright office. If you’ve already done that, you might be wondering if you’ll ever need to re-register it to ensure that your work continues to stay protected. Sometimes, re-registration is necessary, but it’s not common.

What’s the Purpose of Copyright Registration?

When you write a script, you automatically own the work and the copyright. However, it can be harder to hold anyone who uses your work without your permission accountable if your script isn’t registered with the United States Copyright Office.

Copyright infringement is usually a civil dispute, with the copyright holder bringing a lawsuit against the party that used their work without permission. Filing a copyright infringement lawsuit requires that the work is registered, although it does not have to be registered prior to the infringement.

However, it’s usually easier to prove that you wrote your script if you register it as soon as you’re done with it. You might need to re-register in certain situations, though, especially if you make major changes.

How Much Did You Change the Script?

As a writer, you’re probably never going to be completely satisfied with your script, no matter how many times you go over it. Changing a few words here and there or even removing a scene won’t affect your original copyright much, and you don’t need to worry about reregistration.

With that said, major changes could warrant reregistering your script with the copyright office. If you change the story substantially, add a character, or make other major changes, you will want to make sure these new elements are protected.

How Do You Reregister a Script?

When you reregister the copyright for a script, you will need to reference your original copyright in your request. You will also need to describe the major changes you made. The new copyright will only cover the new material and changes, so be sure that your updates are significant enough to need a new registration. Your copyright will never expire once it’s been filed.

If you need assistance with registering a script or you’re concerned about copyright infringement, it’s important to speak with a Southern California litigation attorney who has experience with copyright law and intellectual property. For more information and to set up a consultation, give our Beverly Hills, CA law firm a call at 323-230-6200.