Anyone that has worked in a creative endeavor knows that many new
works build to one degree or another on the earlier works of others.
From the copyright perspective, when is building on the works of
others considered a proper inspiration and when is it considered
It is hard even for courts to draw the line between the two. It
is fairly easy to determine whether a work is copied in its entirety.
It is harder to determine if a work that is similar to another is
an unauthorized adaptation.
You can be inspired by and reuse ideas, facts, or style of another's
earlier work to form a new work without infringing a copyright.
This is because these elements of a work are not protected by copyright
and thus they can be reused and recast into new original expression.
To copy all or part of an earlier author's copyright-protected
expression in a new work may infringe the earlier author's rights.