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Frequently Asked Questions

Business Advice

What is the difference between "business advice" and "legal advice"?
How do I get business advice from the Guild?
How do I find an attorney to get legal advice?



What does "public domain" mean? What is in the public domain?
How do I register my copyright?
When Should I register my copyright?
Can I copyright revisions to a work?
What does registering my copyright accomplish?

Can't I just mail a copy of my script to myself or register it with the Writers Guild or the Dramatists Guild?
Can I use the life story of a real person in my play?
If I translate someone's play or a translator translates my play, who owns the copyright?
Can I write a play based on someone else's copyrighted work? Can I write a musical or use music owned by another songwriter?
What is "work for hire"? Should I do work for hire, or otherwise sell or assign my copyright? 
Do Directors have a copyright in their version of my stage directions? Is there a "director's copyright"?



Which Guild contract do I need?
How do I order contracts from the Guild?
Does the Guild review contracts? What contracts will you review? How should I send them to you?
What contracts will you NOT review?
Why do I need a collaboration agreement?
What is a "submission release" form? Should I sign one?



What are royalties?
What are commissions? 

What are the general rules of thumb for calculating options? Advances? 
What are subsidiary rights? Who should share in my subsidiary rights revenues, and at what rates? 
What is the general formula for calculating royalties?
What is the average royalty for stock and amateur productions licensed through a publishing company?



Do I need an agent or a manager? What's the difference?
Do I need an agent?
Where can I find one
Will the Guild help me get an agent?