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A derivative work right is the legal permission to develop a new work derived from an original work protected under copyright law. Derivative work rights are only granted for derivative works with original content, versus duplicated copyrighted material. The original author's permission to transform or adapt an original work by the original owner is the essence of a derivative work right.
Derivative work rights primarily apply to digital and copyrighted music and film, such as DVDs. Such rights apply to anyone that expounds on preexisting digital recordings in an original way. Works include musical adaptations, original recording translations and motion picture productions from books. Because of their secondary nature, these are considered derivative works that may be transformed, translated or adapted to other media.
A derivative work right has an obvious and key advantage, which is that the developers of new works are protected under copyright law and cannot be held liable, provided they adhere to copyright stipulations. Opponents argue this is a type of loophole. For example, existing digital and online copyright laws are considered underdeveloped, and as online software become more readily available, fluid copyright laws may not be able to keep up with new technologies.