Tuesday, April 27, 2004

No derivative work
One of the things that us Norwegian scholars always worry about when publishing in the US is the rules for re-use of the work, ours and others. This worry is normally not because we sorry about people quoting too much of our own work. Hey, use us, quote us, criticize or adore us, it is what academic writing is for! No, what we worry about is whether we have overstepped boundaries about quoting and citing, rules and regulations foreign to the Norwegian traditions.

The Creative Commons license is in a way very close to how most Norwegian Scholars think about their work, so when Into the blogosphere uses the creative commons to restrict the use of my article, that's perfectly fine with me. It is also fine because then I can go in and check what it really means, and see that people can use, cite, quote and in general have fun with my work, as long as they don't sell it for money. What I don't quite understand though is the meaning of "derivative works". Where is the limit for derivative? If I inspire an other scholar to write a scathing criticism of what I wrote, is that a derivative work? After all, refuting everything I say means staying very close to my text, and letting my text control the other writer's every response. Or if the other writer decides to see if I am really right in my assumptions, and wants to develop a research project to test a theory from my work, is that derivative work?

No, I don't want to use this to ensure that I will not be criticised or stop others from developing research testing my hypothesis. I want to understand whether the editors could use the "no derivative" clause of a Creative Commons license to stop others using my work that way. And I suspect it is a technicality. Just one that made me wonder.

From Mark Bernstein, a definition:
The Copyright Act, at 17 U.S.C. §101,....

A ``derivative work'' is a work based upon one or more pre-existing 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''.

and a link

And from one of the editors of Into the Blogosphere a message that if I want to open up for derivative work, I can. What I can't do is restrict the use of my article more than the editors intend with the license.

Thanks, that was useful information!

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