What you should know... EXCERPTS FROM THE U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE
Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following: To reproduce the work in copies. To prepare derivative works based upon the work; To distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending; To display the copyrighted work publicly. Right to Modify Alterations: Since altered artwork is in fact a derivative work of the original, if the artist does not grant the right to prepare a derivative work, the client has no right to alter the image. (U.S. Copyright Office) How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in someone else's work? Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work. Accordingly, you cannot claim copyright to another's work, no matter how much you change it, unless you have the owner's consent. (U.S. Copyright Office)
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