Who cares about copyright?
You'd be amazed at how much stuff revolves around the copyright.
But the work is copyrighted at inception. I don't need to register the copyright.
Yes, yes you do.
Because the buyers need to see a chain of title, which means they need to know who owns what copyrights and that they are actually buying (renting) them from the actual owner(s).
So what do I need to register?
You need to register the entire movie.
That's form PA, right?
What kind of SNAFUs can one run into?
Well the biggest snag I've ever hit is that sometimes they think you're a theatrical release and the Copyright Office wants you to send them a film print.
Exactly. But you can apply for special relief, or somehow convince them you aren't a theatrical film.
What about registering the screenplay?
The only case where I've found that I need to register a screenplay is with a SAG contract.
Really? They expect the screenplay to be registered?
Sigh. Yes. It's because when you sign with them they have a lien on the work and so they need to see that there's a copyrightable work that you have the rights to.
Have you ever done that?
Yes, shockingly for my version of Hamlet.
But... how did you copyright Hamlet?
I don't want to talk about it.
So what's up with the Certificate of Employment you make everyone sign?
That's an invention of our sales rep. The language in that makes it so that it's clear nobody else is holding onto any of the gazillion copyrights that go into the movie.
Who all has copyrightable work in the picture?
The writer, the director, the composer, the cinematographer, all the actors, even the sound department. Everyone has some sort of copyright they have to assign so that there's only one copyright holder.
How does that work?
By making everyone's work "Made for Hire".
So if everyone works "for hire" then the company they work for can get a copyright on the work.
And then when a distributor buys the picture they only need to sign an agreement with the one company rather than with a dozen or more copyright holders.
Yes. Let me tell you, they really don't want to deal with more than one entity.