Texas Wesleyan Law Review
The Mighty Morphin Ninja Mallard: The Standard for Analysis of Derivative Work Infringement in the Digital Age
On the continuum between an exact reproduction of protected property, and the creation of an original work, lies a gray zone. This zone is a mixture of protected works-printed art, art on digital media, digital and analog music, and other works recognized as deserving intellectual property protection-that can be mixed and matched with other works to create new works. American law recognizes protection of this form of copying as derivative rights. The question becomes, how do courts determine when the character of a work contains enough prior copyrighted material such that it violates a derivative right. Further, with the ease of access afforded by the Internet to protected works, and the concomitant ease of digital manipulation of those works, what standard will courts apply in determining when a work violates derivative law. Digital manipulation raises a fundamental issue with respect to the infringement of an author's exclusive right to prepare derivative works based on preexisting copyrighted materials. Such is the nature of our example in the Ninja Mallard.
Timothy E. Nielander,
The Mighty Morphin Ninja Mallard: The Standard for Analysis of Derivative Work Infringement in the Digital Age,
Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.37419/TWLR.V4.I1.1