Derivative work  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In copyright law, a derivative work is an artistic creation that includes major, basic copyrighted aspects of an original, previously created first work.


Since many films are based on novels or scripts they are classed as derivative works. In cases where the film's copyright has lapsed but the original work is still covered the film cannot be freely distributed without the permission of the original author on which it was based.<ref>Avner, Jon. "Can I Show "It's A Wonderful Life" ?". Accessed 26 August 2006.</ref> For example, the 1912 George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion was made into a film of the same name in 1938. The film's protection had lapsed and it was thus released into public domain, but that of the original play was retained. After a third party released prints of the film they were challenged by the copyright-holders of the play, with a court ruling that releasing the prints was a copyright infringement. [1] [Apr 2007]

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