Copyright Compendium

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709.2 Fictionalizations


709.2 Fictionalizations


A fictionalization is a work of fiction that recasts, transforms, or adapts the facts or factual events that are described in one or more preexisting works. A work of fiction that is only loosely based on the facts or events described in a preexisting work typically would be considered a work of fiction, rather than a fictionalization.




• A children’s book about the life and times of Kit Carson would be considered a fictionalization.


• A short story based on Stokely Carmichael’s experiences during the Freedom Rides would be considered a fictionalization.


• A romance novel set during the Civil War featuring original characters, situations, and dialog with occasional references to historical persons or events would be considered a work of fiction rather than a fictionalization.


When submitting an application to register this type of work, the claim should be limited to the text of the fictionalization, the applicant should provide the name of the author of that text, and the applicant should provide the name of the claimant who owns the copyright in that text. Applicants should use the term “text” or “fictionalization” to describe this type of authorship, rather than “editing.” When completing an online application, this information should be provided in the Author Created/Other field.


When completing a paper application on Form TX, this information should be provided in space 2. For guidance on completing these portions of the application, see Chapter 600, Section 618.4.


If the fictionalization is based on or incorporates a preexisting work, such as a biography or other work of authorship, the applicant should exclude that preexisting work from the claim using the procedure described in Section 621.8. By contrast, if the fictionalization is based solely on historical facts, persons, or events, or other uncopyrightable material, there is generally no need to complete this portion of the application.


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