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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: When is software a derivative work of a specification
Date Fri, 03 Sep 2010 00:19:34 GMT
Santiago Gala wrote (on another list):
> We have always worked around here under the assumption that a program
> is never a derivative of its specification. In musical terms, if a
> program is a score, a spec would be the "format" (sonata, symphony,
> ...). Saying the all fugues are derivatives of Bach fugues looks too
> stretched to me. But I'm not a lawyer.

Unfortunately, your example isn't quite apt. This is what the U.S. Copyright Act says about
musical arrangements and sound recordings, and about the things that we do to create software
from specifications:

17 USC 101: A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such
as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version,
sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a
work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations,
elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship,
is a “derivative work”.


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