I was wondering if anyone here has any knowledge of what a "derivative work" might look like as far as copyright infringement goes. Let me give you some specifics of my situation:
I've been commissioned (not getting paid, just get my name out there) to write a piece for a high school orchestra. My only requirement is "use a theme that high school kids can really get into". What better theme right now than the Hunger Games, right?
Problem: I don't want to be sued by a company as large as Scholastic Inc.
Here's what I would like to do: Title the piece "Rue's Song". Rue is a character in the book. One other thing I'm planning is to use is the text of a lullaby written by the author of the book as basis to write my own melody. Obviously, as it is a book, there is no actually melody to steal, the melody will be original, and I will not use the actual text in anyway.
The way I see it, I'm using such little amount of information in a indirect fashion that I think I'm fine. I've often heard that copyright protects the work itself, not the idea of the work (which is what I'm dealing with, an idea). However, my project is still the basic definition of "derivative work" which I understand I should need a license for.
Does anyone have any opinions to share with me? As a young composer just trying to get my name out there, I don't have the money to spend on a license like this. If what I'm planning is in violation of copyright, I'll just have to abandon the project. If not, I'd love to continue on.