Types of published or unpublished dramatic works that may be submitted for registration include choreography, pantomimes, plays, treatments, and scripts prepared for cinema, radio, and television. These works may be with or without music.
Generally, dramatic works such as plays and radio or television scripts are works intended to be performed. Dramatic works usually include spoken text, plot, and directions for action. Because of misconceptions about copyright registration for radio and television presentations, the following points require emphasis:
- The title of a program or series of programs cannot be copyrighted.
- The general idea or concept for a program is not copyrightable. Copyright will protect the literary or dramatic expression of an author’s idea but not the idea itself.
- Registration for a particular script applies only to the copyrightable material in that script. “Blanket” registration for future scripts or for a series as a whole is not available. However, an unpublished collection of material may be registered with one application.
Choreography and pantomimes are also copyrightable dramatic works. Choreography is the composition and arrangement of dance movements and patterns usually intended to be accompanied by music. As distinct from choreography, pantomime is the art of imitating or acting out situations, characters, or other events. To be protected by copyright, pantomimes and choreography need not tell a story or be presented before an audience. Each work, however, must be ﬁxed in a tangible medium of expression from which the work can be performed.
Deposit requirements depend on whether the work has been published at the time of registration. If the work is unpublished, send one copy of the work. If the work is published, send two complete copies of the best edition of the work:
- Script: The copy may be a manuscript, printed copy, film or video recording, or a phonorecord.
- Pantomime: The work may be embodied in a film or video recording or be precisely described in text or on a phonorecord.
- Choreography: The work may be embodied in a film or video recording or be precisely described on any phonorecord or in written text or in any dance notation system such as Labanotation, Sutton Movement Shorthand, or Benesh Notation.
Registration of the work is normally effective on the day all the material is received in the Copyright Ofﬁce in acceptable form.
|*NOTE: Copyright Office fees are subject to change. For current fees, please check the Copyright Office website, write the Copyright Office, or call (202) 707-3000.|
FL-119, Revised June 2008