Derivative works are the result of taking a pre-existing work and creating a new composition from that material. It is different than a cover song, which is a more straightforward recreation of an existing composition, but without significant alterations to the melody or lyrics.


Examples of derivative works include:

  • Language translations
  • Sampling (recording a specific segment of an original song)
  • Medleys
  • Any song arrangements that change lyrics, abridge the music, or make other significant modifications to the original composition.


Registering a Derivative Work with The MLC

If a derivative work has been properly licensed with permission from the original publisher or copyright holder, you can distribute that song through digital service providers as an original work with the proper songwriting ownership of the new song registered. That ownership should reflect the license you have negotiated with the creator of the work you created a derivative work from.


Please note: The MLC cannot give additional information or advice on derivative works; if you have further questions, we recommend you reach out to your legal representative.