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Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3466
Experience:  Experienced in intellectual property law
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Can I add material to an existing copyright? I have an ongoing

Customer Question

Can I add material to an existing copyright? I have an ongoing project and I will copyright the existing designs and description of designs, but I was wondering what happens when I create new content.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
hello, you cannot use the underlying copyrighted material without permission. Creating a new work based on an existing copyrighted work is called a "derivative work" and that requires permission from the original work's owner. If you create something entirely original (not using all or a substantial portion of another copyrighted work) then of course you are entitled to your own copyright....but when you are just adding to someone else's work then permission is required to avoid infringement. let me know if you need clarification.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alex! Thanks for your response. I'm sorry but I forgot to mention, but the Copyright will be created by me, so it's my own entirely original project. But since I will be creating new content, I was wondering if I can add to the copyright after.
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
I see. Yes, if the material being added is substantial enough then it becomes a new work and entitled to its own copyright. Whether you want to register the copyright or not is a judgment call but if you think it is different/unique enough over the the original, and might be copied by others, then definitely you should file a new copyright on it...and if you never registered the copyright on the original I suggest you do because legally you cannot sue or get statutory damages unless the copyright is registered....basically, if its not registered then you have very little power to enforce or recover money for infringement.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Got it. Just to be very clear. I'm creating designs for a science fiction universe I wrote/created. I'm an illustrator and I intend to release the Project online soon with the story line and illustrations I created so far.. Since it's an open project, I'm registering the copyright of what I have created so far. But since it's an ongoing project, I will create more designs, which will be under the same universe. So imagine I created a military tank for the year 2030, I will have another tank created eventually, but for the year 2100. So the design will be different but the universe is the same. Does that makes sense?
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
yes same info applies....but you should definitely consult with a copyright attorney to prepare the copyright applications, you may be able to group some of your illustrations together as a collection under a single copyright (under certain conditions e.g. when all are being published at same time) which could be the right approach for you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, sounds good. Thanks a lot!!
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
you're welcome, best of luck

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