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Should I put my WGA registration number on my screenplay?

I’m always happy to answer questions so if you have a question about writing or selling your screenplay please let me know.  No matter how basic or mundane you might think the question is, fire away and if I can, I’ll try and answer it.

I recently got this question: Should I put my WGA registration number on my screenplay?

I have mixed feelings about this.  You should read my post about protecting your work which can be found here: http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/screenwriting-faq/how-do-you-protect-your-work-screenplay-copyrights-and-wga-registration/

To answer the question as simply as possible I would say “yes.”  Most spec scripts you see floating around typically have the WGA registration number in the lower left hand corner of the title page (with the title and “written by you name” in the center of the page and you or your agent’s contact information in the lower right hand corner).

However, I typically do NOT put the WGA registration number on my scripts even though it’s standard to do so.  I’ll typically put something like: “WGA/w Registered”.  The WGA uses a sequential numbering system so that you can tell roughly when a script was registered by looking at the WGA number.  Not a huge deal if you’ve recently registered it but if it’s been sitting on your shelf for a few years you might not want to give that information so easily to the potential reader.

Again, please read my post on protecting your work where I’ll explain why a WGA registration number may not even be needed at all – in which case you would put “@copy: 2009” in the lower left hand corner.  And you’ll want to update the year often so that producers can’t tell that the script is several years old.