[sword-devel] Copyrights and derivative works

David's Mailing List and Spam Receiver sword-devel@crosswire.org
Sat, 18 Jan 2003 17:12:08 -0500

On Saturday 18 January 2003 04:28 pm, Chris Little wrote:
> There is no need to represent the whole story in order to be a derivative
> work.  One may represent a single scene, as I described.  The drawing on
> the cover of a novel is (if it bears any relation to the content of the
> writing at all) a derivative work of the novel.  All those drawings and
> paintings various people have done of Tolkien's works, whether for the
> purpose of illustrating later editions or otherwise, are derivative works.
> They requrire permission from the original's copyright holder in order to
> be distributed.  It's essentially because you're enjoying fruits of
> another's creativity rather than making something up yourself (or enjoying
> the fruits of the creativity of someone long dead).

So basically it's like, if I write a paper and do research and use ideas I 
found in a book and I don't cite the original work that's plagiarism even if 
I write the idea in my own words. Right? And on that note. I read quite a bit 
of stuff and bits and pieces of stuff I read, see, hear, etc. gets integrated 
into my way of thinking and eventually I forget where I got the information 
from. Do I have to spend time researching to find the source and cite it or 
can I just use it in a work? And say I learn something in a class lecture in 
college. Do I need to site the professor I learned it from?

Copyright laws have derivative works clauses for a reason. For example, take 
what happened to Don Quixote. Cervantes' novel became massively popular 
during his day and people began to write the further adventures of Don 
Quixote and bootleg and fanfic style novels and stories began to pop up 
everywhere (coming out of the woodwork basically). Naturally, these 
derivative works (and that's what they were, derivative works), didn't take 
the care to stay true to the spirit of the original, nor did they bother to 
ask Cervantes if it was OK. This upset him enough that he wrote an official 
sequel to Don Quixote in which someone from La Mancha goes off to the 
university and comes back with a book about the adventures of Don Quixote. 
The Don, is of course critical of the works for their accuracy, etc. This 
sequel ends with the death of Don Quixote.

Now a days, fanfic and fan art have their place (mostly exclusively on the 
Internet) and don't get called out because either a) the author/artist stays 
under the radar and/or b) it's in the company's interest to allow this sort 
of thing since it helps create communities of loyal 

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