[Web4lib] Disney films based on public domain fairy tales are not derivative works

Brian Gray mindspiral at gmail.com
Tue Jul 13 17:04:50 EDT 2010

Thank you Jean for the nice summary from your colleague.

Another spin on the discussion is there are those trying to patent story
lines though:

I do not know if a court or USPTO has ruled against these types of actions.

Brian Gray
mindspiral at gmail.com
bcg8 at case.edu

On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 4:57 PM, Norma Jean Hewlett <hewlett at usfca.edu>wrote:

> I asked my friend Eli Edwards, who is both a librarian and a lawyer. Here
> is
> what she told me:
> 1. It's not possible to copyright a public domain fairy tale. For example,
> you can't copyright the basic story of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs,
> including parts of it such as her meeting seven dwarfs.
> 2. It IS possible to copyright any original material that your retelling
> adds to the tale. For example, while you can't copyright generic dwarfs,
> you
> definitely can copyright the characters of Dopey, Doc, Sneezey, etc.
> 3. You can also copyright other original features of the work, such as the
> musical score.
> 4. Therefore, Disney has no problem establishing copyright on their version
> of Snow White.
> Jean Hewlett
> University of San Francisco

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