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Guild Community (posting requires registration) => General Discussion => : Rick July 27, 2008, 03:43:57 AM

: Copyright Law Regarding Derivative Works
: Rick July 27, 2008, 03:43:57 AM
Copyright Law Regarding Derivative Works

        Under the law, a derivative work is defined as:

        [A] “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.

        The law further provides:

         (a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.

        (b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.

        As indicated above, the copyright law provides that the creator of a derivative work that is not an infringement of the underlying work is the owner of rights of copyright in that derivative work, but does not acquire any rights to the underlying work.  However, the creator of that derivative work must have created the derivative work with the authority of the copyright proprietor since the copyright proprietor of the underlying work has the exclusive right to make derivative works, as discussed above.

        Without any such authorization, the creator of the derivative work cannot use any part of the underlying work without the permission of the copyright proprietor in that underlying work.