"Derivative" works



As I am teaching this lesson, I am finding more and more that middle school students are having a really difficult time understanding what a derivative work is. Sadly, their lives are full of artists “borrowing” original works, but they cannot understand the original work and how what they know as art as “derivative” - I think more time needs to be dedicated to explaining what a derivative work is. Personally, I could use more current-day examples as well. When I use Weird Al as an example of a parody, they don’t relate (sorry, Weird Al, but you’ve lost your footing in this current generation!)


We hear a lot about music artists being sued for stealing music from previous generations, but there are artists who do it the right way. I heard about Taylor Swift recently with her current hit “Look what you made me do.” who gave credit to Right Said Fred for a riff she borrowed from his 90’s hit. It would be fun to play both and show the kids how even musicians have to follow the law. http://www.vulture.com/2017/08/im-too-sexy-taylor-swift-new-song-explained.html