How to Best Protect Your IP as a Filmmaker

How to Best Protect Your IP as a Filmmaker

The art of filmmaking is a tough one, as, like with any creative art form, you’ll have to imagine entire worlds and characters yourself and pour hours of work into developing your ideas, writing and shooting a script, and so on. Things can quickly become complicated, however, when the Internet and online piracy come along since it’s tougher today than it ever has been to protect the IP you’ve developed using hours of your work from falling into the hands of pirates.

Work with the Right Lawyers

Copyright law is some of the most complicated forms of law to practice, and if you’re trying to hold onto your IPs and make sure they’re safe from piracy and from anyone who would want to steal your idea and your products, you’ll need to make sure you have powerful allies on your side, and there are no better allies to have than the best copyright lawyers in the world. Using these lawyers, you’ll be able to enforce your legal ownership, extend it, prevent it from falling into the public domain, and much more, which means you’ll have a way to act on defending your ideas and what you own. 

Use DMCA Protection

One of the biggest ways filmmakers are taken advantage of, usually without their knowledge, is through people uploading clips of their films or the entire film itself with little to no modifications, which more or less acts as a form of online piracy and can steal valuable views away from your business. YouTube, in particular, is the platform where this issue is the worst, and if you want to stay on top of this issue, you’ll have to report each video that you see that you feel is a breach of your legal rights. However, the videos you report will likely pop back up again just as fast, which is why using a great DMCA takedown service that can detect when your content is being stolen automatically may be the perfect tool.

Register Your Copyright

The first step to protecting an IP is to prove that you own it in the first place, and that’s why having a copyright should be the central task in your entire legal and business strategy. As soon as you have a film idea or one for a character or anything else you’re trying to develop, it’s a good idea to head right for the copyright offices and register one for yourself, which will act as the main form of proof that you’re the owner of a franchise or a recognizable character.

Create Bulletproof Contracts

As a filmmaker, you’ll be working with a ton of assistants, people helping behind the scenes, and other talent and creative forces like scriptwriters and the actors that will be in front of the camera. These people may require strong compensation, but it’ll be up to you to ensure that you create bulletproof contracts with whoever you work with, that, no matter what deal or form of compensation you may have set up with the people you’re working with, it’s unmistakable that you’re the sole owner of the film. Similarly, you should make sure of this if you’re signing a contract with a studio, as many of them may try and buy the rights to your rightful creation.

Use NDAs

Making a film is hard work and requires a lot of money and, sometimes, investment from people all over the industry. This means you’ll have to discuss your ideas for a film or a new piece of media in-depth with people you want an investment from, including sharing script ideas or the entire script itself, and, at this point, you may not have registered a copyright for your film. To make sure your ideas remain your own, you should try and get everyone who hears your ideas to sign an NDA so your thoughts don’t reach someone willing to use your ingenuity in their work.


Protecting your IP is a vital part of filmmaking since, if you want to be successful, you’ll have to prove your ownership of a certain character or an idea and make sure that you’re associated with it as closely as possible. This becomes difficult when the internet gets involved, as your creation can spread like wildfire to the point where its origins become convoluted, but if you use the information in this article, you’ll be able to continuously protect your IPs.

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