Submission ReleaseAn Industry-Standard Submission Release
Submission Release Policy
Since I am a professional, working producer, director and writer, I am actively developing and pitching television projects all the time. I am also offered hired-gun gigs to produce, direct and/or write. As such, I, like most professionals and companies working in content creation in television, must protect myself by having a strict submissions policy release from anyone submitting material to me for any reason. This is true whether it’s for my producer/director/writer career, or my script consulting services. The submission release, an industry standard requirement from most companies and many individuals, basically states that whatever you submit may be similar or even identical to something I’ve either already written or developed, are writing or developing, or will write or develop in the future, and protects me from claims of using your material. No reputable producer, director or writer or production entity is in the business to steal your ideas, myself included. Many ideas are generated for television projects and some are bound to overlap closely or almost exactly. Ideas are not copyrightable, but the execution (a script, a produced tv show, etc.) of one is.
So two things need to be stated here:
It is strongly recommended that you register your project through the WGA’s Registry service and/or copyright your material through the U.S. Copyright website. Please do this before sending me any material, as it protects both you and me.
You must agree to the terms in my submission release form, in writing, in order to submit any ideas, loglines, treatments, outlines, scripts, or other creative work, whether written or verbal, to me or this website. If you do not agree to these terms, you may not submit any material, and any material submitted without your express written agreement to these terms will be deleted and refused to be considered.
You can download the release (as a fill-in-the-blanks PDF form) using the blue button below. (Click the “Download” button in the the upper right-hand corner of the page that opens in your browser.)
Once you sign the release, please send it to my secure Dropbox folder using the green button:
Also, please note that this release is not needed for Career consultations or Television Industry consultation, as we are not discussing TV show ideas in those.
This is what the release contains:
- I am submitting to you herewith material, ideas or creative work (hereinafter referred to as “Material”).
- I understand that you have adopted the policy of refusing to accept, consider or evaluate any unsolicited material unless the person submitting such material has agreed to an agreement in form substantially the same as this. I specifically acknowledge that you would refuse to accept, consider, or otherwise evaluate my material in the absence of my acceptance of each and all of the provisions of this agreement. It is understood that no confidential relationship is established by my submitting the material to you hereunder. I shall retain all rights to submit this or similar material to persons other than you.
- I request that you examine said material with a view to consulting with me on the Material and you agree to do so, provided however, that you may refuse to consult on the Material for any reason whatsoever. I understand that if you refuse to consult on said Material that a full refund, less a $25 (twenty-five dollar) handling fee plus any financial services’ fees (such as PayPal’s percentage charge), will be returned to me within 10 business days.
- I warrant that I am the sole owner and author of said material, that I have the exclusive right and authority to submit the same to you upon the terms and conditions stated herein. I agree to indemnify you against any liabilities, losses, claims, demands, costs (including reasonable attorney’s fees), or expenses arising in connection with any breach or alleged breach of the foregoing. If said material is based on a real person or a previously published or produced work, I warrant that I have authorized rights to market the property. I also understand that it is my responsibility to protect my work through the WGA registry service or by copyrighting it.
- I agree that nothing contained in this agreement nor the fact of my submission of said material to you shall be deemed to place you in any different position than anyone else to whom I have not submitted said material with respect to any portion of said material which does not constitute protectable literary property.
- I recognize that you have access to and/or may create or have created literary materials and ideas which may be similar or identical to said material in theme, idea, plot, format, or other respects. I agree that I will not be entitled to any compensation because of the use of any such similar or identical material which may have been independently created by you or may have come to you from any other independent source.
- Such similarity in the past has given rise to litigation so that unless you can obtain adequate protection in advance, you will refuse to consider the submitted material. The protection for you must be sufficiently broad to protect you, your related corporations, and your and their employees, agents, licensees and assigns and all parties to whom you submit material. Therefore, all references to you include each and all of the foregoing.
- I agree that no obligation of any kind is assumed or may be implied against you by reason of your review of the said material or any discussions or negotiations we may have, except pursuant to this expressed agreement, which, by its terms, will be the only contract between us.
- Any controversy arising out of or relating to this agreement, its validity, construction, performance, operation, breach, continuance or termination, including the interpretation and scope of this arbitration provision, any claims involving statements, agreements or representation made during the negotiation of this agreement, whether in contract or in tort, shall be settled by final and binding arbitration. Each party hereby waives any and all rights and benefits which he or it might otherwise have to be entitled to under the laws of California to litigate any such dispute in court, it being the intention of the parties to arbitrate, according to the provisions hereof, all such disputes. Either party (either you or I) may commence arbitration proceedings by giving the other party written notice thereof and in such notice designating one arbitrator. Within twenty (20) days after receipt of such notice, the other party shall designate in writing another arbitrator. If the other party shall fail or refuse, for whatever reason, to select a second arbitrator within twenty (20) days, as aforesaid, then the first arbitrator appointed shall serve as the sole arbitrator and shall promptly determine the controversy. The two arbitrators shall promptly select a third arbitrator, and if they cannot agree on a third arbitrator within ten (10) days after the appointment of the second arbitrator, either party may secure appointment of the third arbitrator by application to the American Arbitration Association. Each of the arbitrators shall be a person experienced and knowledgeable in the entertainment industry. The arbitrators, when appointed, shall promptly determine the controversy by majority vote and such determination shall be final and each of the parties shall be bound thereby. The arbitration shall be conducted in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, and except as herein expressly provided otherwise, the arbitration shall be governed by and subject to the laws of the State of California and then prevailing rules of the American Arbitration Association. Subject to the control of the arbitrators, each party agrees to furnish to the other upon request all books, records and documents in his or its possession reasonably necessary to a proper determination of the controversy. The arbitrators shall have jurisdiction to allocate their own fees and expenses as between the parties. If either party shall fail to appear at the hearing on the date designated in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association, or shall otherwise fail to participate in the arbitration proceeding, then the arbitrators or arbitrator, as the cause may be, are empowered to proceed ex parte. Judgment on the arbitration award may be entered in any state or federal court of competent jurisdiction. The prevailing party shall be entitled to receive, as an element of damages, all costs or expenses paid or incurred in connection therewith, including reasonable attorneys’ fees. By signing below, I expressly acknowledge that I am giving up my rights to have any dispute covered by this provision litigated in a court or jury trial.
- Except as otherwise provided in this agreement, I hereby release you of and from any and all claims, demands and liabilities of every kind whatsoever, known or unknown, that may arise in relation to the said material or by reason of any claim now or hereafter made by me that you have used or appropriated the said material, except for fraud or willful injury on your part.
- Either party to this agreement may assign or license to any person, firm or corporation whomsoever, its or his rights hereunder, but such assignment or license shall not relieve such part of his or its obligations hereunder. This agreement shall inure to the benefit of the parties hereto and their respective heirs, successors, representatives, assigns, licensees and clients shall be deemed to third party beneficiaries under this agreement.
- I have retained at least one copy of said material, and hereby release you of and from any and all liability for loss of or damage to, the copies of said material submitted to you hereunder.
- I hereby state that I have read and understand this agreement and that no oral representations of any kind have been made to me, and that this agreement states our entire understanding with reference to the subject matter hereof. Any modification or waiver of any of the provisions of this agreement must be in writing and signed by both of us.
- Should any provision or part of any provision be void or unenforceable, such provision or part thereof shall be deemed omitted and this agreement with such provision or part thereof omitted shall remain in full force and effect. This agreement shall at all times be construed as to carry out the purposes hereof.
- I acknowledge that you have advised me to seek independent legal advice with regard to the advisability of entering into this agreement and as to its terms and conditions.
If you disagree with any provision of this agreement and will not sign it, you may not send me any material and I cannot consult with you for written material. If you purchase a consultation or other service that involves you sending me any written material, and you cannot or will not sign and send in the submission form sent to you thereafter, then I cannot work with you. This does not apply to consultation services for your television career or for the television industry, just the Writing and Scripts consultations.
This all sounds pretty drastic but it is something that too much litigation has brought about. It’s just business, as the lawyers say. Oh, and I’ve had to sign some version of this myself, many times, and it felt weird every time. But I understand it and accept it.