Is inherited class a derivative work?

Ken Arromdee arromdee at
Mon Oct 22 04:11:21 UTC 2001

On Sun, 21 Oct 2001, Michael Beck wrote:
> When you derive a class, you are creating a copy of the original class. When you
> make changes to the new class, you are creating a "derivative work", the same
> way as you would do it by making changes to a copy of book, copy of a picture,
> copy of a house design, or a copy of a chip design. You don't change the
> original, but you still are creating a derivative work.

When you derive a class, you're creating a copy of the original class *on your
machine*.  That doesn't mean that if you write code that derives a class, and
distribute the code, you're distributing copies of the original, modified
or not.  It means that you're distributing instructions which tell other
people how to modify copies they already have.

You can't copy a house design, change it, and distribute it.  But you *can*
distribute a set of instructions which says "take this house design, reduce
the size of room 3A by 5 feet in the east-west direction, and change the pipes
to..."  Someone can get their own copy of the house design and apply those

Telling someone how to make a derivative work isn't the same as distributing

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