2CELLOS & Derivative Works


On  June 24th, I was lucky to attend the exciting concert offered by the cello duo 2CELLOS formed by Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser in Barcelona (Festival Jardins de Pedralbes).

Their music basically consists of versioning classic pieces and pop & rock through their two cellos making original works  thanks to their personal style and passion in their execution.

But ¿are these pieces original works if they are based on other preexisting works ?. The answer is affirmative provided they have the express consent of the original author. These pieces are qualified as Derivative Works subject to protection by the article 11 Intellectual Property Law in Spain and UE regulated by Berne Convention (as the sequel or remake) and these pieces have the same rights as the original works.

” Article 11 – Derivative works: Without prejudice to the copyright of the original work,  also subject to Intellectual Property:

  1. Translations and adaptation
  2. Reviews, Updates and Annotations
  3. Components, abstracts and extracts
  4. Musical arrangements
  5. Any transformations of a literary, artistic or scientific work.

However, not every work transformed or versioned has protection because it is essential to be original although obviously less than the preexisting work. Therefore, we can understand that a derivative work has copyright if  there is a new contribution made by transformers. This contribution must have sufficient elements that allow its identification in the result, otherwise if it is an insufficient part, it will be a different work only inspired by the previous work as a simple copy.

In United States, the Derivative Work is regulated according to the Copyright Act  in its title 17 :

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”

It is obvious that the components of  2CELLOS not only create  their own original works, also  improve them transforming art into more art.

Carmen Álvarez

Media & IP Lawyer

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