Copyright Compendium

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808.10 (E) Claims in Script with No Spoken Parts in the Motion Picture

808.10 (E) Claims in Script with No Spoken Parts in the Motion Picture


When an applicant includes a claim in “script” or “screenplay,” the registration specialist will assume that the work includes spoken parts, because this is the essence of most scripts. Occasionally, the Office receives scripts or screenplays that tell a story and include action, but do not contain any spoken parts. In this situation, the specialist may add an annotation to the record, such as: “Regarding authorship information: Deposit contains no dialog,” or “Regarding authorship information: Deposit contains no spoken parts.” If the authorship is described solely as “script” or “screenplay,” or if this is the sole contribution for one of the authors, the specialist will communicate with the applicant to determine if the author(s) contributed copyrightable authorship to the work.


Example:


• The applicant asserts a claim to copyright in “motion picture including screenplay.” The motion picture does not contain any words, although a story is clearly presented. The registration specialist will register the claim with an annotation, such as: “Regarding authorship information: Deposit contains no dialog [or spoken parts].”


NOTE: If the work is a music video that contains no additional dialog and does not present a clear story apart from the music and lyrics, the specialist will communicate with the applicant to determine whether the claim in “script” or “screenplay” should be removed and whether the claim should include the song lyrics.

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