how to avoid getting your idea “sucked”

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

On July 16, 2017, the filmmaker George Romero . If the name is not familiar to you, Romero directed and co-wrote the 1968 cult film Night of the Living Dead . If you still don’t know who it was, I can safely tell you that this film director created the zombie as we know it.

Before Romero came to revolutionize horror movies, the typical zombie was a kind of human robot that followed orders as a result of being bewitched. Since Night of the Living Dead , the concept changed drastically and the creature became a dead human flesh-eating walker, which you can only kill by destroying its brain. Sound familiar?

The “Zombie Romero” has been so popular that it marked a before and after in all kinds of movies, television series, plays, video games, comics and books. And although every good movie buff credits Romero with the invention of such a popular character, it is said that – brace yourself here comes the terrifying thing about it – Romero did not receive a penny for his first, and very blockbuster, zombie movie.

Not only that, legend has it that he also did not receive any payment from the people who continue to exploit his zombie (or variations of it). Although series like The Walking Dead or movies like Resident Evil have a story of their own, they could be considered derivative works of “Zombie Romero” if the concept had been properly recorded.

And why didn’t Romero become a ridiculous millionaire with Night of the Leaving Dead and the royalties from all his zombie adaptations?

In short, and not to kill them with boredom, due to an error in the film’s registration. The distributor registered Romero’s work under the name Night of the Flesh Eaters. Immediately afterwards, the filmmakers repented and changed the name to Night of the Living Dead , and – small detail – that change was not recorded.

Legend has it that for failing to register the film’s name change, American law at the time provided that the work was in the public domain. And that is why that film was sold (before the millennial ended with the DVD) in American supermarkets at ridiculously low prices and by many distributors.

Now, George Romero’s story ended well. He made many zombie movies, forged a very successful career in film, and lived very well on the money he received from his multiple productions (now well recorded).

However, how many entrepreneurs have not had the same fate as Romero?

More and more start- ups are aware of the importance of legally shielding themselves. Despite this, there is still a reluctance on the part of the entrepreneur to approach a lawyer when starting his business.

Some of the reasons are:

  • High legal fees and expensive paperwork;
  • Little interest of the lawyer to advise the entrepreneur who has just started;
  • Not knowing how to distinguish the fine line that divides the culture of do it yourself from entrepreneurial negligence;
  • The entrepreneur’s perception of the lawyer as an extinguisher of problems instead of viewing him as an ally that can help prevent them; and
  • The entrepreneur’s prioritization of other expenses before legally shielding his startup.

The example of Romero’s zombie is illustrative that entrepreneurs now not only have to comply with the bare minimum in the legal protection of their projects. The competition is becoming better prepared and you have to take full care of the legal aspects of your startups .

It is no longer enough to just have a charter and the registration of your brand, just as Romero was not enough with the registration of the first name for Night of the Living Dead . More and more people are encouraged to start a business and only the best prepared come out ahead. Let’s keep bootstrapping but apply it smartly.

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