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I am working on a game which will allow players to create and share beatmaps. These are essentially levels of the game that are synced to the timing of a song.

Would these beatmaps be considered transformative enough to not be covered under the copyright of the original song? Or would they be a derivative work, therefore requiring permission of the original song's copyright holder to distribute?

What about if the beatmaps are created automatically by an algorithm? How much transformation needs to be done by a computer to a copyrighted work for it to no longer be covered by the original copyright?

I should also clarify that the game itself won't include the songs, only the beatmaps.

Thanks!

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  • Do you hear the original song with it? Do you mean Beatmap like "Up down up down left left right right A B Start" or like a notation of notes?
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 7:33
  • The original song needs to be provided by the person playing, and is not part of the game itself. The beatmap would be representative of the song, but it would only really share the timing of it. You wouldn't be able to reconstruct any part of the song from the beatmap.
    – acoollevel
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 5:39
  • What does the Beatmap actually contain then? A list of expected inputs?
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 5:41
  • Yes that is correct, like what you would have in a game like beatsaber. Technically the level is based on the song, but I'm not sure if that means the creator of the song has copyright on the beatmap as well.
    – acoollevel
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 5:43

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