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How to register a spec commercial

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Darcyana Moreno
How to register a spec commercial
on Apr 26, 2006 at 9:01:42 pm

hi, I created, shot and edited a spec commercial for a famous product. I have the opportunity to send to them for approval, but I want to make sure I'm protected. How can I register or copyright or protect the commercial I did before I submit to them.

Any feedback would be appreciated,

Thanks ,

Daty


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Del Holford
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on Apr 27, 2006 at 12:41:02 pm

That would be a question for an attorney specializing in copyright law. To show it without them being able to actually use it would only require your logo bug over the entire spot. Many software companies allow you to create with their software but it only outputs with a "watermark" over the finished scene until you pay for the full version. That's the kind of thing you could do without actually copyrighting the spot but that wouldn't stop them from copying the idea if they are of low ethical character.



Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS2
Charlotte Public Television


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person
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on Apr 27, 2006 at 1:29:43 pm

i would also think if you were to mail a copy to yourself and don't open it, that would count as hard evidence that you own it on such and such date at such and such address, etc.


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Kenton.VanNatten
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on Apr 27, 2006 at 6:19:20 pm

Yep that'll work too, it's sometimes referred to as "poorman's copyright", it's generally heard of it being used by musicians who send out demo tapes to record labels.

Kenton VanNatten
Avid Editor (for hire)


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Mark Suszko
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on Apr 27, 2006 at 7:34:06 pm

Mailing it to yourself rtes very low with judges, but it's better than nothing. You cna register the script for free or very little money with the Writers Guild East or West.

Understand, while you don't have permission to use their brand, they don't have permission to use your idea, if it's registered first, but you are in a legal gray area that usually favors the guy with the most money to blow on lawyers. They can still steal your concept by just not copying it word for word. Movies of the week do this all the time; they rip an idea from the headlines, to paraphrase one current New York based crime show who will not be named but it rhymes with Awe and Odor. All they have to do is change a few details to make it an "independant creation" and they don't have to pay the person who "inspired" the story a thing.


You can only (perhaps, if at all) copyright the parts of your ad idea that don't actually mention the product.

I suggest you try to register the script with WGA, this at least sets a good benchmark for asserting who did it first. Then just call them up at the company and ask to see someone to pitch an idea.

Likely, you will have to sign a release just to get the meeting, saying you won't sue if they come up with something similar. Don't fret about that, becuse one spot idea, no matter who awesome, is not going to make you set for life.

What you're marketing is the brain in your skull that came up with that idea and which perhaps has many more inside. Go in with the attitude that this idea is a "give-away", so you can get in te door and sell YOU. Not the spot idea, which, cool or not, may already have been thought of and rejected for reasons you don;t know about.

Go for the long money; sell yourself, not the idea.


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Arniepix
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on Apr 27, 2006 at 10:11:32 pm

http://copyright.gov/

The US Copyright office. You can download forms & information.

Arnie

http://www.arniepix.com


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tony salgado
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on Apr 29, 2006 at 1:52:17 am



Ideas cannot be copyrighted.


Keep in mind some agencies do not accept unsolicited material to avoid possible law suits later.

Depending on how they react they might sue you for violating their trademark and/or copyright if you profit from use of their product.


Tony Salgado


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David Jones
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on May 5, 2006 at 1:06:10 pm

[tony salgado] "Ideas cannot be copyrighted.


Keep in mind some agencies do not accept unsolicited material to avoid possible law suits later.

Depending on how they react they might sue you for violating their trademark and/or copyright if you profit from use of their product."



What Tony said!



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cow
Bob Bonniol
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on May 2, 2006 at 12:44:00 am

I'm really sorry to say this; great ideas are fantastic, and it sucks when you can't move one forward, but here's the deal: If you send it to the ad agency (who will have the power to promote and produce the idea) the best case you can really hope for is that you will be ripped off and can say to your pals "Hey that was my idea!"... The bottom line is that most agencies won't even open your letter or look at your email... they do this to avoid liability in many cases. If you send it directly to the company, you will never hear a thing... Advertising is a game of politics between brand execs, agency hacks, directors, post production folks, etc. Generally the agency will generate an idea in repsonse to prompting from the brand... they will create the ad or the campaign usually with one of several directors in mind (somebody they know and like, or somebody who just made the hot ad or music video); they will then post it at one of their favorite shops. It is SO hard to break into this game at the major level... pretty much as hard as playing baseball well enough to make it in Major League Baseball.

What do you want to do ? Do you want to direct spots ? You might want to consider sending your spec to agencies that represent directors instead. They are the level that 'might' be looking for a sharp new idea freak. Are you an editor who wants to work on National spots ? Then follow the ad trade rags (Boards Magazine, AdWeek) and pepper the post houses you see mentioned with reels and resumes. If your a more 'macro' idea guy, you might want to think about poking around the as agencies that are local to you and seeing if you can score a gig as a graphics guy or copywriter...

Best of luck,





MODE Studios
http://www.modestudios.com
Contributing Editor, Entertainment Design Magazine
Art of the Edit Forum Leader
Live & Stage Event Forum Leader
HD Forum Leader


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person
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on May 3, 2006 at 2:02:13 pm

the best thing to do if wanting to be a creative spot director or editor is to keep at it. do the spec work. do the favor jobs. but always be working on your reel and relationships. expect to be used and abused when starting out. as long as it ends up on the reel. the tough thing is that many things you will do will not be worthy of the reel (only show the best of the best). so be diligent. as bob stated, breaking into the ad side is tough. this business is darwinism at it's best for sure. but i'm certainly having a blast being a creative spot editor. good luck.

i think your topic has manifested itself into a preaching service. sorry.


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Justin Cordes
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on May 17, 2011 at 9:08:12 am

Hey Bob, I just read your advice and it is spot on (no pun intended). As an Avid/FCP editor I've been out of the traditional TV advertising game for sometime but I'm looking to possibly make in roads back in, so thanks.

And I was inspired to bookmark 'Boards Magazine but I see they've closed up shop just about a year ago. Bummer. They were a cool mag.


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Frank Nolan
Re: How to register a spec commercial
on May 19, 2006 at 11:08:22 pm

[Darcyana Moreno] "I have the opportunity to send to them for approval"

Aside from all the other advice given, it sounds like you have already established a dialogue with the company, if so I would keep meticulous records of any correspondence with them. i.e. dates, names and times of phone conversations, copies of any and all letters sent and received, any emails sent and received. Make sure you start any letters or emails with something like "In reference to our conversation regarding the spec spot I have created for XYZ product..." This creates a dated paper trail which would definitely bolster a copyright case if it ever came down to that. Good luck with your pitch.



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