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Home > Using Copyright > Compilations, Music, Images > Compilations


Examples of compilations

  • Periodicals
  • Databases
  • Anthologies
  • Audio-visual works
  • Web pages

A compilation may involve many copyrights
A compilation or collective work is form of expression that arises from combining a selection of separate elements, such as a web page, an issue of a journal, or a database.

If the selection or arrangement of materials in the compilation is original, the compilation can be protected by copyright, in addition to any copyrights that may exist in individual components in the compilation. The copyright in a compilation is independent from, and does not expand or diminish, any copyright that may exist in any of the components.

Using works from compilations
In a compilation, such as an anthology or journal publication, there may be a copyright notice that indicates the publisher is the owner of the work.

    Publisher may not own all rights for all uses
    Even though there may be a copyright statement printed in a work, this does not mean that the publisher owns every element of the publication. The publisher may not have obtained an assignment of ownership of the individual components to include them in the compilation; the publisher may have obtained only a license to use the work in that particular manner.

    If ownership is hard to determine
    If you want to use part of a compilation, it may be difficult, if not impossible to ascertain who owns what from just the copyright notice in this situation. You may need to contact the publisher or entity listed as the owner of a compilation to determine the ownership status of various elements of the work and then contact individual authors to obtain permissions, if required.

    Specify what is needed
    When dealing with a compilation or collection of materials, it is important to specify exactly what it is you wish to use so that you can identify who holds the rights you may need.

Compilations and Public Domain
Many compilations are created from public domain materials.

Public domain materials are not eligible for copyright protection, even if they are republished in a new format that is original.

For a compilation using public domain materials, this means that individual elements of a compilation do not have copyright protection and so any copyright on the collection would be on the original arrangement or selection of the materials.

EXAMPLE:  A selection of Shakespeare’s plays 


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