Okay so I am curious, if I take a simple silhouette, and make one similar to it. What is the copyright laws on that?

So to give you an idea. The original image is a tiny pic, in Blizzard's game WoW. My scythes look different but are inspired from it.

WoWs Scythes
My Scythes

  • You are making a derivative work - and that is also covered by copyright. So you would still need permission from the copyright holder.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 18, 2017 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


In general, it would be seen as derivative work.

In copyright law, a derivative work is an expressive creation that includes major copyright-protected elements of an original, previously created first work (the underlying work). The derivative work becomes a second, separate work independent in form from the first. The transformation, modification or adaptation of the work must be substantial and bear its author's personality to be original and thus protected by copyright. Translations, cinematic adaptations and musical arrangements are common types of derivative works.

Still requiring permission from the copyright holder.

For copyright protection to attach to a later, allegedly derivative work, it must display some originality of its own. It cannot be a rote, uncreative variation on the earlier, underlying work. The latter work must contain sufficient new expression, over and above that embodied in the earlier work for the latter work to satisfy copyright law’s requirement of originality.

A mere outline of copyrighted work would probably not qualify as "substantial original content". -- But I am not an attorney.


I guess, in the European copyright view it is okay to copy and enhance it. Why? Because the "art" work oft WoW isnt of a higher art, originality or extremely good craftmanship. It is simply a standard icon. So it is not protected and free to copy.

Still keep in mind, I am not an attorney.

  • Yes well unfortunately brene convention is going to cause you trouble on that.
    – joojaa
    Apr 18, 2017 at 17:38
  • May be, but the question was about the law not the convention or the enforcement. Still I guess it is legal. If one is afraid of ones rights, you better do not do business.
    – FrankL
    Apr 22, 2017 at 6:50
  • No what i mean is that even if its legal in your locale does not mean they can not sue you based on copyright laws of some other locale. Brene convention is weird like that. So even if i dont get copyright in my own locale does not mean i can not get it form USA as part of a simultaneous release there. Which again gets me standing in my own locale. While i might well be protected in my locale that does not mean i dont open myself for problems elsewhere. But copyright is insane! I personally dont understand derivative work clause as 99% of all work is derivative. Note: i didnt downvote
    – joojaa
    Apr 22, 2017 at 7:29
  • I dont care of downvoting ;) I recognized crowd thinking isnt always correct thinking but easiest way/ most popular thinking. So, you basically talking about international Internet and local laws. The US has more ways of protecting design e.g. Samsung vs Apple on rounded corners. In the EU it isnt possible. Im not too much in US laws, but I doubt that a simple icon like this above has any proven originality. In the EU you can literally copy webdesigns as they are treated as not being higher art. Many Webdesigner are pissed of this law...
    – FrankL
    Apr 22, 2017 at 7:43
  • yes that is not what im saying, it is very unlikely that you get inbto problems with this. The problem is your confuisng patent law vs copyright. In patent law you are protected if you dont work in markets here. For copyright that does not matter, the Brene convention is made to be able to sue based on a external entities interpretation of copyright
    – joojaa
    Apr 22, 2017 at 7:46

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