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Ideas have no owner

The fact that one defends the need for a work system does not in any way suppress the assiduous emergence of ideas.


The fact that one defends the need for a work system in no way suppresses the assiduous emergence of ideas. The creative mechanism has in The Idea a sort of snow anchor that serves to make a route but that once the substratum melts, ends up detaching itself from the mountain.

At the end of the last century, a friend asked me to write a film script with a provocative idea. It was one of three scripts I wrote in a period of little more than a month. With the foresight to produce it on a shoestring budget, the more action-packed events, including some death and car chases, were confined to the last third of the story. So it had a lot of dialogue and intimate situations that distracted the audience with a false genre of romantic shenanigans. That film was never made and the script has slept the sleep of the just to this day.

However, it has seemed to me that it has survived the passage of time. I still like it. Me.

In the midst of my confinement in 2020, I contacted a producer friend to whom I entrusted the reading of the script with the open intention of getting him excited about producing it. A week later he told me that he was exasperated by the length of the dialogues and that in his opinion the story started at the sixty-fourth minute. It was a bucket of ice water. Worse than that. He told me that he loved the idea (what Americans call premise). He let me know that if I didn't improve the script I might as well take it back by asking another writer to develop it for him. This provoked in me a powerful impulse to write, on the same idea, a new script in a month and a half. I did develop it with all the toys: martial arts fights, love triangles, chases, intrigues and full-fledged murders, from the very beginning of the story. Like the previous one, it is titled The Ambitious and is registered with the Block Hash:


Ideas belong to no one, they say in my village.

It is worth understanding this from the perspective of Intellectual Property because the copyright registry considers the moral owner to be the person who registers the work regardless of whether he actually produced it or subtracted it from a third party. The most that a registry can do is to request a declaration of conscience about the authorship. Beyond this they are as blind, deaf and dumb as wise monkeys. They have to take it for granted that the work belongs to the one who actually brought it.

This establishes the clear need to register one's work as soon as possible. Fortunately there are faster and safer technologies that allow this. And this could be all the knowledge that concerns the author of a work of so-called spiritual or artistic production.

As I have mentioned in another post, to the work and to the author, there are moral and patrimonial rights. As for the work, it must be understood in the following legal terms:

  • Every work has human origin.
  • Copyright has universal protection.
  • Copyright arises at the moment of creation.
  • However, the registration of copyright does not care who made the work. 
  • The copyright registry does not debate whether or not that work is worthwhile.
  • Copyright does not protect the idea but how that idea is materialized.
  • The intellectual creation is of artistic, scientific or literary nature disclosed or reproduced in any form.
  • Intranscendence of the work: The protection extends to any type of work regardless of its value.
  • Independence of the ownership of the work and the ownership of the material support on which it is found.
Copyright is vested in the work as intangible and is not confused with the ownership of the copy of the work in which it is embodied. The delivery of the copy of the work does not imply the transfer of rights.


  • Nothing that is not written has value.
  • There is no co-authorship in photography.
  • A work for hire must have a contract.
  • Title has copyright protection.
  • Trademark registration establishes 10 years of protection, extendable (this may vary according to the country).

Unsolicited material:

  • Never send material that has not been expressly requested because it creates commitments of protection of such work.
  • When someone accepts to receive material, a Confidentiality Agreement is sent beforehand, which must have a penalty amount ("on my lawyer's recommendation").
  • The "Poor Man's Registry" (sending yourself a mailing) is an incomplete solution.

As for a work for hire:

  • You have to have instructions.
  • Progress meetings.
  • Moral Rights are the author's.
  • Assignment of Patrimonial Rights to the contractor.
  • Negotiate the amount of delivery of versions.
  • Negotiate when the contract ends.

Terms and conditions of use:

  • Always state: "Everything on this website is the property of...".
  • It cannot be reproducible or commercialized.

This year I wrote a script on commission. In addition to the amount of money, we agreed with the client the way in which the participation of each one of us would be credited. In this case he contributed the idea. The script would appear with my name in the credits even if he preferred to work on subsequent versions with another writer (as long as the changes did not alter the structure of events). 

In other types of works this does not usually happen at all (although in visual arts the NFTs are, in my opinion, generating a new paradigm of Intellectual Property both by their nature and by their false exclusivity. That will be for another entry).

In any case, contrary to what would have happened in other times when the terms and costs of registrations had longer margins, the delivery of a commission on the agreed date favors, by far, the approximately eight minutes it takes to register and obtain a Certificate of Authorship with a simple movement of a pointer on my computer.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.

Author Said Orlando

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