First know, you can only take 'precautions' against piracy & creative theft - especially now that we live and WRITE in the world of the internet. But here are some precautions you can take.... particularly regarding screenwriting:
1) REGISTER your screenplay as soon as it's completed. WGA (writer's
guild America is recognized world-wide, can be done in 10 minutes via
the internet). There is a list on my website (http://wordsmythe.ca ) LINKS section to find others around the world.
2) ALWAYS sign your work. You would be surprised how many scripts I
receive for critiques that DO NOT have the writers name on every page
(in the header at the top alongside the title and just before the page
#). You may have to remove this for competitions.... but in every other case - SIGN YOUR WORK.
3) NEVER transmit a file in anything other than an unalterable PDF or
similar incorruptible file.
4) SEND files to people you know via reputation or, if they are friends, make sure they understand they should request permission before
forwarding the file elsewhere.
5) Don't write OVER your old drafts of a screenplay - but create a
new numbered 'version' each time you do a rewrite to ensure you have a
traceable chain of creation. (draft #1, draft #2, draft #3..... DO NOT
send out scripts with the draft #'s on them; but keep the files on
your computer for proof)
And know, too - that like seat belts in an automobile - these can't
prevent a big, serious accident; but can help minimize problems with
little fender-benders. Creative theft is really hard to prove; make
sure you do all you can to minimize the possibility from your end and
keep writing. Don't pin all your hopes and dreams on one single piece
of writing. The more you have in your writing portfolio; the less it
will hurt if one thing goes astray.
I hope this helps. And I do wish you luck with your screenplay . Let me know when you’ve completed your script. I’d love to read your work!