Inspired piece and derivative work - the border between inspiration and plagiarism?


The inspired work and the dependent work - the limit is not clearly presented by the legislator. When distinguishing these two cases, it can be assumed that it is a quantitative ratio to identical elements, and not necessarily a qualitative ratio.

How to distinguish an inspired song from a dependent?

The difference between an inspired work and non-self-contained works, i.e. studies, is not clearly presented by the legislator. It is considered that the indicator of the boundary between the derivative and the inspired work is the degree of significance of the use of elements intercepted from the parent work

Considerations of the quantitative type could prove useful in cases of musical works in which the repetition of a specific notation of notes would result in a derivative work (composition of the work). However, this solution is not always applicable, as there are cases in which the number of convergent fragments may be very large, but the resulting work will have creative features for the most part and will be considered an inspired piece. A comparative analysis of inspired works and non-self-dependent (dependent) works is very difficult and should be approached individually each time.

In the case of, for example, borrowing someone else's literary character, his name or appearance, one can speak of an inspired work. However, if the same character is created for a given work, it will have clear, individual, unique features characteristic of a given work, the work created with a given character will be a development of the original work and will not have individual features - it will be a dependent work.

The legislator did not pay too much attention to the inspired work, it is just one sentence in the act on copyright and related rights:

Art. 2 sec. 4

A work that was inspired by someone else's work is not considered an elaboration.

Inspired work vs derivative work - get to know the definitions

Inspired song is a song inspired by another artist's work. The inspiration in this case can be called a surge of emotions, inspiration, a creative state caused by someone's work.

Unlike a derivative track, an inspired track has individual and creative characteristics. The inspiration for the second piece is only a stimulus, a kind of inspiration to realize your own work. The author of an inspired work has full economic and moral rights, provided that it does not contain creative elements of someone else's work, but only unprotected elements, e.g. characteristic features of a specific style.


The piece is inspired by a self-contained work with full copyright. The author has the right to freely dispose of it, provided that he has not taken any creative elements from another work.

Elaboration, i.e. derivative work

In the case of commissioned work, a work is created for another person. In order for it to legally use it to the full and unlimited extent, it is necessary to transfer the copyrights to the work to a third party. In these cases, the rights to perform derivative works are almost always transferred as well. Thanks to this, the person to whom the rights have been transferred will be able to adapt it to their requirements, including increasing, reducing, placing in various places, adapting it to, for example, their own website. All these activities on the piece are not creative, as they do not change the essence of the work, and the author of the study does not create it from scratch, but only develops it according to his own needs. Signing a contract with the transfer of derivative copyrights allows for legal modifications. Otherwise, the work created could only be used in the original version.


A derivative work is characterized by the fact that it arises in connection with, or is based on, someone else's work. This main piece is called the original piece.

The disposition and use of the study depends on the consent of the author of the work. This consent may be in writing or verbally, as there are no special requirements by law as to the manner in which consent may be given. Another possibility for the legal creation of compilations of the work is the expiry of economic copyrights to the original work due to their expiry or placing the work in the public domain.

However, when creating an elaboration of a work, it should be remembered that in addition to economic copyrights, there are also moral rights that never expire. As a result, it is impossible to work on someone else's work without indicating the original creator.

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What is an inspired song?

When evaluating an inspired work, make sure it contains the creative elements of someone else's work. It happens that elements repeated in various works are not the result of inspiration, but only features characteristic of a given style or concept.


The style is not protected as it is not subject to copyright.

The relationship between an inspired piece and an arrangement

An elaboration is a work that was created in connection with the original work or on its basis, in which some other people's parts were used, being creative and original. The resulting new work (developed) only changes some elements, e.g. the context, but does not change the most important formal aspect and does not, as a rule, interfere with the content, i.e. the substantive aspect. Studies are in particular translations, modifications and adaptations.

Abstracts, stagings and arrangements can also be considered derivative works. However, this is not a closed catalog, because depending on the technique in which a given work was created, there may be various forms of its development.

The creation of the study depends on the consent of the author of the original work, unless the rights to this work have already expired.