[LINK] Copyright in adapted works [was Digital copyright ...]

Stephen Wilson swilson at lockstep.com.au
Tue Jun 10 15:36:10 AEST 2008

Frank O'Connor wrote:
> I started having problems with copyright when:
> a) Hollywood copyrighted classic English works of fiction (Bronte 
> Sisters et alia) simply because they had done a film based on them.

Can you expand on what exactly is going on in these cited cases?

Maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick but it seems fair enough to 
copyright adaptations, or to copyright actual forms of adapted works. 
That is, if for instance I were to film a play, even if I don't change 
the script, I can claim copyright in the film, but not the original 
text.  IANAL but clearly, novels adapted into screenplays constitute 
genuine new creative works.  So why shouldn't copyright subsist in the 
new forms?

A more mundane but to me more familiar example is when I sign over to a 
publisher copyright in the production of a conference paper: they get to 
own the form in which it is produced by them, but I retain copyright in 
the original text.  It makes sense (to me at any rate) that my writing 
represents one piece of intellectual property, that I own and can modify 
and improve and publish again as I wish, while the actual printed work 
is another piece of IP, imbued with the publisher's brand, and improved 
by their editing, indexing and imprimatur, all of which adds some value.


Stephen Wilson
Managing Director

Phone +61 (0)414 488 851

Lockstep Consulting provides independent specialist advice and analysis
on authentication, PKI and smartcards.  Lockstep Technologies develops
unique new smart ID solutions that safeguard identity and privacy.

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