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Are instructions for creating a derivative work, themselves a derivative work?

A description of how to do something is itself an independent creative work, and is protected by copyright. E.g. if you write a program that controls a milling machine, that program is protected no ...
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Is each version of a software considered a "derivative work"?

Four Yes, each version is a derivative work, as mentioned in The following are examples of the many different types of derivative works: ... A new version ...
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