From PDF to MP3: Motivations for creating derivative works

John Hilton III


With increasing frequency, authors are licensing their works in such a way so as to permit others to create derivative works. In some cases, these derivatives extend the impact of a work by providing a translation into another language or modifying the file format to make it more accessible. The Internet is increasing people’s ability to create and distribute these derivatives. Seventeen creators of derivatives were surveyed on their motivations for doing so. They indicated that they were willing to create derivatives that extend the original content of a book because they want to help others access the work. Nearly all the people surveyed indicated they were glad they had created derivative works, often feeling like they were part of a community effort to share the work with others. These creators of derivatives believe that as awareness of open licenses increases others will be encouraged to create derivative works.


Open Access; Derivative Works; Creative Commons

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