907.1 Copyrightable Authorship in Derivative Works
A derivative visual art work is a work based on or derived from one or more preexisting works. A derivative work may be registered if the author of that work contributed a sufficient amount of new authorship to create an original work of authorship. The new material must be original and copyrightable in itself.
Examples of visual art works that may be registered as derivative works include:
• Sculptures based on drawings.
• Drawings based on photographs.
• Lithographs based on paintings.
• Books of maps based on public domain maps with additional features.
Examples of works that cannot be registered as derivative works, because they contain no new authorship or only a de minimis amount of authorship include the following types of visual art works:
• Photocopies and digital scans of works.
• Mere reproductions of preexisting works.
For a general discussion of the legal standard for determining whether a derivative work contains a sufficient amount of original expression to warrant registration, see Chapter 300, Section 311.