Interpreting the General Release Form

The following shall constitute a release (the “Release”) by “[YOUR NAME HERE]” (“Submitter”) with regard to the submission of a screenplay entitled
“[YOUR SCRIPT TITLE HERE]” (the “Material (s)”) for review by D. B. Bates (“Reviewer”).

This identifies the document as a release agreement, you as the submitter, your screenplay as the submitted material, and my website as the reviewer of submitted material.

Submitter understands and agrees that the execution of this Release is a prerequisite to Reviewer’s consideration or review of any materials submitted. All references herein to Reviewer shall include any subsidiary affiliate, parent or other company under common ownership or control (“Related Entities”) as well as Reviewer’s and the Related Entities’ director officers, agents, employees, consultants, lessees, licensees, successors, and assigns.

You understand that this website will not look at your work without a signed and completed release. You also understand that things may change with this site. Also, on the chance that I somehow get bought for $700 million by News Corporation, or I develop my long-awaited “Master Bates 4 Kidz” subsidiary, this section considers my corporate overlords and/or related offshoots as, well, Stan Has Issues.

In consideration of Reviewer’s review of the Material, Submitter hereby agrees as follows:

  1. Submitter understands and agrees the Reviewer does not undertake to consider the Material in confidence. Submitter acknowledges that Reviewer must disclose the material to various employees of Reviewer, and possibly to those outside Reviewer’s employ, to determine the reason of Reviewer’s consideration of the Materials or by reason of discussions at any time between Reviewer and Submitter with Respect thereto.

As it stands right now, only I own this website, and only I will look at your scripts. However, on the chance that this coverage service becomes highly successful and I need to hire additional readers, this section grants permission to anyone I hire to read your material. It also grants me the ability to discuss your scripts with people (i.e., colleagues) who may ultimately prove invaluable in helping guide my analysis. (And, yes, I frequently babble on about scripts before writing coverage/reviews/whatever. At the end of the day, my opinion is my own, but my opinion—like anyone else’s—is informed by what I know as much as how I feel. If someone I know can provide more insight into the material, I’ll gladly talk to them about the script. It’s probably better for you that I do this.)

  1. The material has not been previously disclosed to Reviewer, and Reviewer has not made any prior inducements, promises or representations to Submitter regarding the material. Any submission to Reviewer is made with the understanding that Reviewer shall give the Material such consideration as it merits in Reviewer’s sole and final judgment, and Reviewer is under no obligation to Submitter whatsoever if it does not evaluate the Material or does not desire to use the connection with the Material or any information regarding Reviewer’s activities in the field to which the Material pertains.

I’ve never seen your script prior to you signing the release and sending it to me, and I owe you nothing but the agreed-upon notes.

  1. Consideration of the Material is not an admission by Reviewer of the novelty, propriety, or originality of the Material. Reviewer shall not be obligated to further consider Submitter’s Material or to negotiate with or enter an agreement with Submitter pertaining to the Material or otherwise.

How I feel about your script does not guarantee its commercial prospects or originality. The fact that I may like it doesn’t mean I’ll kick it upstairs to my bosses (who, legally, have no affiliation with this blog or coverage services) and push to Get It Made. All you get is my opinion. I also retain the right to ignore you for any reason I choose after I’ve sent you notes.

  1. Any parts of the Material that are solely owned and controlled by Submitter pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1051 et esq. and/or protected by copyright for the benefit of Submitter pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq. (collectively, the “Statutes”) shall be deemed protected materials (the “Protected Materials”) for the purpose of this release. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Reviewer submitted by Submitter, which are not Protected Materials or which are owned by a third party.

    Neither the submission of the Material nor anything in this Release shall be deemed to limit or restrict Reviewer’s rights, or otherwise obligate Reviewer to Submitter, in such regard nor prohibit Reviewer’s use, without obligation to Submitter, of materials submitted to, acquired or created by Reviewer prior to or after Submitter’s submission of the Protected Materials.

  2. Reviewer shall be entitled to all rights of exploitation in accordance with the Statutes and other applicable laws, in any ideas, concepts or materials that are created independently by Reviewer, even if similar or identical to the Protected materials. Submitter hereby waives and discharges any claims against Reviewer pertaining to the Material (including, without limitation, claims for breach of implied contract), except those expressly authorized under the Statutes. Submitter shall not be entitled to any compensation by Reviewer for Reviewer’s review or use (in any manner) of any portion of Material which is not Protected material. Nothing stated in this Release or omitted here from should be deemed to constitute an admission of any fact or waiver of any right, remedy or defense available to Reviewer or its Related Entities, and Reviewer and its Related Entities hereby reserve such rights, remedies and defenses to their full extent at law (including without limitation the Statutes), in equity, and by agreement.

I cannot plagiarize you. What you’ve written—the words on the page—are protected by federal law. You cannot sue me for having already written a screenplay with any similar elements, nor can you sue me if, in the future, I participate in a project in any capacity that bears any similarities to your script, unless it’s a literal, word-for-word knockoff. (It’s more complicated than that, but in the unlikely event that it comes to this, your attorney can determine the veracity of your case.)

  1. Submitter hereby represents and warrants that:
    1. Submitter is the sole originator of the Material, that the Material is solely owned by Submitter and that no other person, firm, or corporation has any right, title or interest.
    2. Neither the Material nor Reviewer’s review or use thereof shall violate any personal or property rights of any third party including, but not limited to, rights or droit moral, privacy, publicity, copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property rights, nor shall the Material or Reviewer’s use thereof constitute defamation, libel or slander against any third party.
    3. Submitter has the full right and authorization to submit the Material to Reviewer upon all of the terms and conditions herein stated.
    4. No persons have collaborated with Submitter in creating the Material, nor do any person have any rights in such Materials inconsistent with Submitter’s agreement hereunder.

You wrote this script all by your lonesome, nobody else has any rights to or claims on the script, and you have permission to send it to me. (PRO-TIP: if you wrote the script with a partner, go ahead and have him or her sign one of these forms, too.) Also, your script shouldn’t portray Dick Cheney as the Great Satan or explain to me in painstaking detail how to rob his man-sized safe—but if it does, he can’t sue me because I happened to read it.

  1. Submitter agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Reviewer and Related Entities from and against any claim, loss obligation, liability or expense including reasonable attorneys’ fees (including an allocable share of in-house attorneys’ fees and costs) that may be asserted against or incurred by Reviewer or its Related Entities in connection with the Material submitted hereunder, any use of such materials by the Reviewer or by breach of any representation, covenant or warranty made by Submitter hereunder.

You won’t blame me if someone hacks my computer, steals your script, and sells it for $5 million.

  1. This Release has retained a copy of the Material and agrees that Reviewer shall not have any obligation to return the submitted copy of the Material to Submitter and that Reviewer shall be under no obligation for any loss or damage to such copy.

This is really more for hard copies of scripts—which I may decide to start accepting in the future, in case somebody with a telegraph-based web browser taps out a request to ship out their script on the 10:30 train—but it says that if you give me a copy, I don’t have to give it back. If I do give it back, I can set it on fire first and you can’t do nothin’.

  1. Submitter acknowledges their agreement to the foregoing by signing below. Submitter represents and warrants that (s)he has fully read and understand and agrees to the foregoing. By virtue of acceptance of this release and upon acceptance of the material, Reviewer hereby acknowledges and agrees to the foregoing.

Your signature means you understood everything you read. Hopefully this helped. [Go Back to the Coverage Service]

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