Is inherited class a derivative work?

Rob Myers robmyers at
Fri Oct 19 13:14:02 UTC 2001


on 19/10/01 1:53 pm, Chris Gray at chris.gray at wrote:
> If I write a class which extends java.util.Dictionary, then whose
> implementation
> of java.util.Dictionary am I adapting:

Is the original work changed? No.
Is the original work copied&pasted? No.
Is the original work translated to produce the new work? No.
Does the new work rely heavily on the original FOR ITS CONTENT? No.

The text file just sits there. When it's compiled to object code/bytecodes,
it's still just sitting there. It does not contain copied, translated or
derived (in the copyright sense) content from the original. Linking is
another matter as people have pointed out.

The difference between "deriving" a class and "deriving" a work form a
copyrighted work is as big as would be expected between a bit of OO jargon
and a legally defined term. Please can people stop confusing oo-derivation
with (c)-derivation. Programmers may know "derive", "use", "relationship",
"adapt", etc., etc., from programming, but their legal usage is quite
different and is not flexible.

Out of curiosity could function/method names be trademarked to regulate
their calling? :-)

- Rob.

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