ANSWERS: 4
  • I would just put the phrase in quotes and not worry about it. Your editor looks for grammatical errors; anyhow, so if you're having problems with it, then just put quotes around it and let the editor edit the screenplay. It'll work and remember, "If you give a hoot, don't pollute!"
  • No, it is not copyrighted, it's just a phrase that, at best, has passed into public domain or was never protected to begin with. But that doesn't matter in a script -- you want to use it as dialogue, and if your character would honestly be moved to say that (it's a bit stilted, sounds Biblical), then use it. Contrary to another answer, you only use quotation marks around direct quotes of another speaker in the screenplay, or around lyrics, or character read or recited passages (like a newscaster reading off cue cards, or a witness being sworn in) -- use underlines for signage, and use all of this formatting sparingly. (Lyrics can also be stacked in italics, it's easier for the reader's eye to "hear" the song like that.)
  • You can't really copyright a phrase. That would sort of be like copyrighting the color blue. It's considered public domain.
  • A phrase cannot be copyrighted, but it can be made into a trademark (like an advertising slogan). In that case you would only be in trouble if you tried to use it for advertising a competing product.

Copyright 2020, Wired Ivy, LLC

Answerbag | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy