How Much Does it Cost to Copyright a Screenplay_

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How Much Does it Cost to Copyright a Screenplay?

How Much Does it Cost to Copyright a Screenplay? The addition of Copyright protection to your script or screenplay can protect you in the event that someone were to attempt to steal or otherwise recreate your creative works, but how much does it cost to Copyright a screenplay?

This question comes up a lot, especially for aspiring filmmakers that are operating on a very strict or minimal budget but want to know that they have protected their rights following the blood, sweat, and tears that go into writing a screenplay. Is there any cost that is not worth the protection?

Why Copyright?

script or screenplay that is Copyrighted has added protections in place that are paid for by the owner for the purpose of defining ownership of the creative material. The U.S. Copyright Office provides benefits to those who protect their creative work via Copyright and by doing so you have legal actions that may be taken if someone infringes on your Copyrighted work.

Copyright infringement is a big deal! You can sue someone for infringing your creative materials, but only if you Copyright the screenplay first. Registering for copyright is relatively simple and should take place before you share your screenplay with others are infringement can only occur AFTER you have protected your assets. If someone copies your work before you have applied for a Copyright your rights are limited.

Cost to Copyright Your Screenplay


Copyrighting your work will cost between $35 and $55 for an online application. You may also apply for a paper application of Copyright, but that has a slightly higher cost of $85. A single application for copyright covers a single author for a single work and will cost $35. A standard application that includes any other filing such as multiple author works or those that are “for hire” will cost $55.

How To CopyRight Your Screenplay

So how does one go about copyrighting a screenplay? The steps are actually very simple. Remember, you want to copyright right away, so that you are protected before you share your screenplay with others.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Write your screenplay.
  • Fill Out the “Visual Arts” Copyright form.
  • File the form online at
  • Pay your payment for the copyright registration fee.
  • That’s it!

Something so simple really should not be put off! The copyright can take up to 8 months to process so it is important to get started right away as soon as you have a script or screenplay to protect.