Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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503.1 (C) Compilations and Derivative Works

503.1 (C) Compilations and Derivative Works

The Copyright Act states that “[t]he subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works.” 17 U.S.C. § 103 (A).

Compilations and derivative works constitute copyrightable subject matter, provided that the work falls within one or more of the categories of authorship set forth in Section 102 (A) of the Act (e.g., literary works, sound recordings, pictorial works, etc.). In other words, a compilation or derivative work may be copyrightable provided that it qualifies as a literary work, a musical work, a dramatic work, or one of the other congressionally- established categories of authorship. A compilation or derivative work that does not fall within one or more of the Section 102 (A) categories is not registrable, such as a compilation of exercises or a new version of a useful article. Registration of Claims to Copyright, 77 Fed. Reg. 37,605, 37,606 (June 22, 2012).

For a definition and discussion of compilations and derivative works, see Sections 507 and 508.

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