Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Texas

Hi, I was wondering if you can give me advice. I have a show idea and I want to follow through with it through producers of either the Food Network Channel or The Travel Channel but am terrified that someone might steal my idea. How do I go about making sure that it doesn't happen. Should I write down my idea on paper and get it notarized before I go forward with it? I don't know. Please help.


Mrs. Sanchez

Asked on 5/11/11, 3:26 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Firstly, you can never copyright an "Idea". I would not recommend just putting it down on a piece of paper and having it notarized. Secondly, these networks and their development producers will not receive any unsolicited material. What this means is that any pitch for a show, script, or idea that comes through must be represented either by an agent, manager, or an attorney.

If you want to submit an idea for a show to either of these networks, you need to submit what is called a "PITCH". A pitch will include the concept of the show, how it is executed, the demographics it will be hitting, and why the show belongs on the network. Then, you will need to attach a treatment of at least 5 episodes to give an idea of what the direction of the show can be. Once you have your pitch, you will need to be represented by an agent or find yourself an Entertainment Attorney to give you feedback as to the potential of the show being picked up.

If your show concept is truly unique and a surefire thing, I would recommend budgeting a promotional video and acquiring a production team together; then pitch the promo idea to one of the Network stars (one of the chefs or travel hounds), have them appear in your promo, then get the promotional video professionally edited, sound mixed, and scored. At this point, you can submit your promotional video along with your pitch through an agent or attorney, and you can be sure the development team will be going through your materials.

Going any other route will be a waste of your time and energy, as no network will open an unsolicited packet. Additionally, there are thousands of submissions for ideas a day; the networks have to separate quickly the serious potential and everything else.

I hope this helps. If you are ready to take any further steps as I have listed above; please feel free to contact our office at 832-667-7700.

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Answered on 5/12/11, 7:56 am
Kevin B. Murphy Franchise Foundations, APC

As a Franchise Attorney I only add the following. You need to develop what is called a Nondisclosure Agreement that is customized to your particular situation. Before you disclose you idea to anyone, they need to sign the Nondisclosure Agreement. Consult with a good business or franchise attorney in your area for specific advice.

Mr. Franchise - Kevin B. Murphy, B.S., M.B.A., J.D.

Franchise Foundations, a Professional Corporation

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Answered on 5/12/11, 8:29 am

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