The above headline "How To Copyright Your Documentary Idea" is a trick question because the short answer is: "You can't copyright your idea."
But this question comes in often enough to Desktop Documentaries that we wanted to set the record straight.
Here's an example of such a question that came in recently:
Filmmaker Question: "Is there a way to copyright my documentary idea? I am looking to make a documentary on a specific person who is rather famous in their profession / field. I do not want to discuss this documentary idea with this person until I have my ideas copyrighted so they do not go to another filmmaker, etc. I have already put in too much time and effort in research."
Mr. Firemark is an entertainment attorney based in California and also teaches Entertainment Law in Columbia College Hollywood's film program. He's the producer and host of Entertainment Law Update, a podcast for artists and professionals in the entertainment industries and the author of The Podcast, Blog and New Media Producer’s Legal Survival Guide.
Firemark's Legal Forms & Contracts for Documentary Filmmakers are offered exclusively here on Desktop Documentaries.
In addition, Mr. Firemark is the instructor for Legal and Business Essentials for Documentary Filmmakers.
The Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark cover intellectual property, cyberspace, new media and business/corporate matters for clients in the entertainment industry. More Info: Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark; Theatre, Film, TV & New Media
This content is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice. No recipient of this content should act or refrain from acting on the basis of content without seeking appropriate legal advice or other professional counseling.