How to Register Copyright on a Screenplay Online

by Sue Basko, esq.

A filmmaker just asked me how to register copyright on his original, creative screenplay. The easiest way to do that is online at the U.S. Electronic Copyright Office.

You can register copyright on your screenplay online for $35. You need to have your screenplay in an acceptable file and you need $35 on a debit or credit card. Also, have a pen and paper handy. The entire process will take you about 15 or 20 minutes total. You will get an email receipt of your registration. In about 4 or 5 months or sometimes much earlier, you will receive a certificate of copyright registration.

If you are a serious screenwriter today, you will have your screenplay in a computer file format. In the olden days before computers, a person would type a screenplay and it would exist only on paper.

IF YOU WANT FREE SOFTWARE for writing your screenplay, follow the link to Celtx on this post:


You need your screenplay in one of these files, because these are the types of text files that the Electronic Copyright Office accepts:

.doc (Microsoft Word Document)*
.docx (Microsoft Word Open XML Document)*
.htm, .html (HyperText Markup Language)
.pdf (Portable Document Format)
.rtf (Rich Text Document)
.txt (Text File)
.wpd (WordPerfect Document)
.wps (Microsoft Works Word Processor Document)**

* For Microsoft Office files, please use version 2003 or earlier.
** For Microsoft Works files, please use version 9 or earlier.
The Electronic Copyright Office is available 24 hours a day, except for routine maintenance every Sunday from 12:00 midnight to 6:00 AM Eastern Time.


1. Go online to the electronic copyright office.

2. On the right hand side there, click on Eco Log-in. That takes you to other pages and eventually you should end out at this page:
Notice the tiny blue writing to the left where it says If You Are A New User, Click to Register -- click there to register yourself.

3. Register yourself. You have to make up a user name of 8 letters and up and a password. The password has to follow a whole list of rules. You can see those by clicking on the blue Password Help on the side of the blank.

4. Register and upload your screenplay.

5. Use your debit or credit card to pay the $35 fee.

6. You will get an email receipt.

7. In a few months, you will get a certificate.

Please email me to let me know if this works for you.

IF YOU WANT FREE SOFTWARE for writing your screenplay, follow the link to Celtx on this post:


You may also want to read:

Bicycle Typogram Print -
cool biking picture by Aaron Kuehn

Bicycle Typogram Print - cool biking picture by Aaron Kuehn
written by Sue Basko, esq.

UPDATE : Aaron now has a batch of Scorcher Red prints for sale, and a super special limited edition Triple-color Fluorescent print:

Aaron Kuehn made this typographic bicycle picture. You can go to Aaron's blog and download a pdf of the graphic for $5, and print it up in any size you like.

 Aaron calls HotAar a blog, but there is really only one entry thus far, which is this picture. Nevertheless, it has been re-blogged 323 times worldwide (324 now!) (update January 30, 2011: it has now been reblogged about 10,000 times! hahah!) , so his entry into the blogging world feels very successful. Bikers all over the world can download and own a print of this incredibly cool graphic and feel a union with other bike enthusiasts around the globe. This is excellent all-around, I think. Note, this is copyrighted, so you can print one up, but you can't be selling them.

Aaron is also now selling a limited edition, signed silkscreen print of the same picture for $30 plus shipping. If you click on the  site page, you can order it there, till they are all gone. Aaron says orders have come in from around the world. (Update January 30, 2011: the first edition and second edition have all sold out. Will there be a 3rd edition or T-shirts? Let's see!)

I am also encouraging Aaron to print and sell big wall posters of the same graphic. If that sounds like something you would like, let him know by writing a comment on his blog.

You can see some of Aaron's other work on his online design book pages. Aaron has designed things for Disney, Pixar, Cirque du Soleil, the Olympics in Beijing, lots of major movie premieres, awards shows, and hundreds of other things. He constantly is working on some really interesting design thing. If people want something really amazing, Aaron is often the one they ask to make that happen. Aaron works very often in conjunction with Keith Greco of Greco Decor in Los Angeles. Keith and company are able to turn wild ideas into structural reality, and they do so very very well. You can see some of their work for Disney's space at the E3 2010 Gaming show in Los Angeles right here on my blog.

Aaron's special affection is for bicycling. He gives of himself to support the bicycling movement in Los Angeles. He designed the clever Los Angeles Bicycle Kitchen feet-on-a-mixer logo that was printed onto T-shirts that you see on bike people all over L.A. The concept of the person riding an egg beater belongs to Jimmy Lizama, the founder of the Bicycle Kitchen. Aaron also designed portable bike valet equipment for the LACBC, L.A. County Bike Coalition, by figuring out how existing designs could be constructed using less material. This handy design can be seen in the online Aarline design book. Aaron also has an online book   of designs for the 4th Street Bike Boulevard, a proposed traffic calming plan that would create a bicycle boulevard across Los Angeles.  And this online book has pics of Aaron's work on a gorgeous redesign of a historic film studio.  

Aaron is never one to have mercy on those not totally computer adept, and you may find it takes some practice before you can open the book pages and manipulate them with ease. Start by putting your cursor on the page edge and turning the page as you would a book. He has it set up so you can download any of the books as a pdf, and that makes it easier to handle. Some of these drawings are so darn clever, it is well worth it. Aaron says, "I disagree that issuu is not intuitive, it's just non-verbal. The format is pretty much the standard for e-books and magazines." True, but it may take some practice.