Is it possible to copyright a translation or musical remix?

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Normally, for a work to be copyrighted it must be original. Therefore, someone who directly copies another work cannot receive copyright protection for the copy.

However, derivative works, such as translations, musical remixes and TV adaptations, can be copyrighted. Although derivative works by their very nature are based upon another work, they are not considered “copies” if there is some unique original expression that differentiates it from the original work. Therefore, a derivative work that contains original expression can be protected by a copyright to the extent that it is different from the original work. This usually means that only the portion of the derivative work that contains unique original expression will be protected.

If you have a question about whether your derivative work can be copyrighted please contact our office for a legal consultation.