September 26, 2014 at 5:29PM


How safe is it to give your film to potential distributors?

So I just finished my first feature film. My plan all along was self distribution, however, some interest has developed from a potential distributor. They are asking that I send them a copy of the film. They are willing to sign an NDA, but being that this is my first rodeo I just don't know how concerned I need to be about protecting my film. I understand I have some natural copyright protection, but I definitely do not have the resources to protect it legally speaking. Anyone have any experience or advice with this?


The old saw is "Worry less about having your work stolen than about producing work worthy of being stolen." A distributor that makes money from distributing movies will always find it easier to pay you for your work than to steal it and distribute it without your permission. An untrustworthy, fly-by-night distributor ... well, why are you talking with them in the first place?

Copyright exists as soon as the work is created, but you can register it with your country's Copyright Office or equivalent for additional protection. Put "Copyright (c) 201x by Me" on the work.

If you're asking how you can be sure a distributor is actually paying you what you're owed ... well, that's more complicated.

November 11, 2014 at 4:41PM

Minor Mogul

I agree with the above poster on all his points!

I would just add-- if they are a distributor who has emailed you out of nowhere before you've gone to festivals or been anywhere, I wouldn't get too excited yet. You get those emails all the time. They aren't all scams-- though I'd say they are all KIND OF scams-- but there's not point in wasting your time or nailing anything down with anyone before you've had a chance to build up some buzz.

November 12, 2014 at 1:05PM

Ed Dougherty
CEO Grinning Man Media Group

Good points above. I will say that you should do your due diligence when working with anybody. If the distributor is reputable then you shouldn't really worry about them stealing your work. The distribution business is run on reputation so it's not beneficial for any of them to steal work. That's just a terrible business model.

Also, copyrighting your film with the Copyright Office won't break that bank.

April 8, 2018 at 6:07PM


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