Saturday, May 17, 2008

So derivative

Robert Bernstein and Robert Clarida had a piece ($) in yesterday's New York Law Journal on the recent string of cases dealing with the question whether a photograph of a three-dimensional object is a "derivative work" under copyright law. Two district courts have said no, but the Ninth Circuit and one district court have said yes. I recently noted this issue here and here.

Bernstein and Clarida take the no-derivative-work line (as does Bill Patry): "For what it is worth, the authors of this article consider the [photographs] at issue in all of these cases to be works of photographic expression that depict their subjects but do not recast, adapt or transform them in the manner required of derivative works."