I want to post the first act of my play in the "Critique My Play" section before moving on to the second act. Is this a wise move? Is it necessary for me to finish my play, copyright it, and then post it?
Last edited on Wed Dec 17th, 2008 10:21 pm by RTurco
We all post stuff here all the time--beginners and professionals. I suppose if you have something so wonderful that you need to protect it, then I'd wait until after it's copyrighted. I, on the other hand, am yet to write something that wonderful. Also, when you post here it is time/date stamped. There is some protection there.
If you post it and it has a date on it, then it is protected by copyright.
You can't get any more public than a posting on the internet with a date on it.
That does not mean that you should not copyright it soon however. If you are extremely worried, know that copyright protection officially begins the moment it arrives in the copyright office. So, if you have a Delivery Confirmation from the post office, you can then feel safe to post. You have to send it Priority Mail to use the Delivery Confirmation.
Even I, paranoid that I am about my work, post here. I take it down after several days, however. You will get a good critique here if people have time to read it.
The key is not to post real long things. 10-15 pages of the play or a short one-act is a good place to start to work up a relationship with the Forum. (As I believe William Wyler said, "If you have problems with the Third act, the problem lies in the First Act." ) Then as you get known, you can establish a relationship with writers to send them things that are longer. It takes time, but everyone here will confirm that.
Copyright infringement in the theatre is fairly rare, at least in terms of theft--there's just not much money in it (people doing your work without permission is another story--that happens all the time). On the other hand, I would never post any part of a film script without having registered it. Well, honestly, I'd never post any part of a film script online. Period.