How To Use Your Downtime Wisely: Protect Your Idea Submissions Legally

How To Use Your Downtime Wisely: Protect Your Idea Submissions Legally

We are entering what is known as Hiatus Season in the entertainment industry. This is when businesses slow down and creators have the opportunity to dust off passion projects or work on that script they keep meaning to get to. 

Want to use your downtime wisely? Morin Legal has some ideas for you. In November and December, we will focus on idea submission and script development. More importantly, we’ll discuss how to use an attorney to help you with these things.

Idea Submissionsnon-disclosure agreement

An idea submission can be a story idea, synopsis, script, or treatment. There are two types of idea submissions: unsolicited and solicited. 

We offer white-glove legal services to represent talent that has been solicited for content. Typically this type of talent is represented by an agent or a lawyer. During this type of transaction, we typically draft a Non-Disclosure Agreement, also known as an “NDA,” to protect your idea submission. 

Many companies, such as Netflix, have prohibitions against idea submissions and only will accept solicited submissions through agents or lawyers. To submit to entities such as this, you must use traditional channels. 

In the digital and streaming age, where content is in high demand and growth, it is becoming more popular for content companies to accept unsolicited submissions to have the opportunity to option and purchase content.

infringement of copyright


When unsolicited ideas are invited, the content company will present the creator with an Idea Submission Release. This release seeks to avoid harm to both parties. 

On one side, the third-party agency, studio, network, or production company wants to protect the time, money, and resources it takes to review the idea. If they have already developed a similar idea, they are also protected and can continue the project without your permission. 

As the creator, your idea isn’t protected, but the expression of it is. The idea is the generic outline while the expression is how to draw distinctions around your universe, characters, or storyline. 



There are 2 ways to protect yourself in the case that you, as a creator, are presented with an idea submission release. 

  1. You can register copyright for your work. Copyright creates a public record, legal title, and a presumption of ownership for you, the creator. register copyright
  2. You can draw even further distinctions in your storyline, characters, universe, etc., to make your work more difficult to replicate.

Morin Legal has a flat-fee menu for working with you on idea submission releases. There are 3 steps in the menu:

  1. An attorney will review your idea and the idea submission release. 
  2. (Optional) If you decide your work needs further protection, we will register the copyright for you. Or you may decide to create further distinctions. 
  3. You will sign the release and an attorney will enter your submission. 

If you’re interested in obtaining the flat-fee menu and a list of services we offer around submission releases, let us know here and we will send it to you. 

We have LinkedIn live coming up on December 7th at 12:30 ET to talk all about script development, so make sure you don’t miss this. 

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