Derivative Works: Creations That Look Familiar

Twin Owls

One of the most common questions I get asked about copyright law is “How much do I need to change in (insert creation name) in order to use it without infringing copyright?” Whether they are asking because someone reused their work or they are thinking about doing it to someone else, these people are usually asking the wrong question. Likely misled by rumors of a 10 percent rule or something similar, many think there’s some magic number that lets themselves or others skirt copyright law by creating a new work from an old with minimal work. Unfortunately, these people often [Read more…]

A Primer on Fair Use for Freelance Writers

yinyang

Looking at the questions I received from last week’s call for suggestions, there were several people who asked me about fair use and had some very good, pointed questions on the topic. However, fair use is not exactly a simple topic to delve into. It is a legal topic that is routinely debated by the brightest legal minds and, quite literally, has had countless tomes written entirely about it. Trying to answer specific questions about it is virtually impossible in the space of a single column. As such, I”ve decided to make my first in this series a primer on [Read more…]

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