Derivative Works

A derivative work is a work based on one or more preexisting works, where the changed version incorporates a substantial amount of preexisting material that has been published or registered for copyright, or has fallen into the public domain.

The copyright in a derivative work covers only the additions, changes, or other new material
appearing for the first time in the work. It does not extend to any preexisting material and does not imply a copyright in that material.

Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to
create a new version of that work. The owner is generally the author or someone who has obtained rights from the author.

You cannot claim copyright to another’s work, no matter how much you change it, unless you have the owner’s consent.

If a work merely incorporates preexisting ideas (which cannot be protected by copyright), but not the expression of those ideas, it is not considered a changed or derivative work.

Examples of Derivative Works

Examples of derivative works include translations, a screenplay adapted from a book, a condensed version of an already published work and a painting based on a photograph.

Copyright protects only the author’s new original material.


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