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Home > Creating Copyright > Ownership Factors > Use of Other Works

Use of Other Works

Use of works of others may require:

  • Assignment
  • Permission
  • Ownership clarification

New works that result from the bringing together of text, graphics, photographs, sound recordings, or movie clips can be a valuable educational resource for students, both in traditional classroom settings as well as through distance education courses.

These new sources and bodies of information are often easy to access, but if they are used, what impact will this have on the rights in the new work?

Two types of works formed in this manner are compilations and derivative works.

  • A compilation is a work in which several separate elements are gathered together and arranged in an original way.
  • A derivative work is a work that modifies, recasts or transforms a previous work. The new work may be eligible for copyright protection, in addition to the copyright in any components or prior works.

Whether a developer can use materials copyrighted by others in a compilation or derivative is an important question to resolve before work on a project begins. Generally, when someone alters a work, permission of the copyright owner is required, absent a fair use defense.

Just because the technology exists to allow works to be gathered together to form what could be a valuable resource, does not mean that the law will permit such an effort. Whether or not particular works may be used and what rights the creator of the resulting compilation would have depends on the particular works involved, the manner in which the particular works were used, and the intended use of the compilation.

Permission Needed
Generally, if the developer of a compilation intends to publish the work or distribute copies of the work to others, such an effort requires that the developer of a compilation obtain the permission of the owner of each copyrighted contribution brought together to form the compilation. Without such agreements, the compilation may infringe the rights of others.

 

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