This Article will analyze the scope of copyright ownership in relation to chains of unauthorized derivative works and chains of arrangement rights in cover versions of musical recordings. In particular, the analysis will focus on the gray area in the law where an unauthorized derivative work (“D1”) is created by an author and another author creates a second derivative work (“D2”) based off of D1. In situations such as these, does the creator of the original derivative work have any rights in their creation if their derivative work was unauthorized?

Further, depending on what rights do exist for D1, can the creator of the D2 be found to be infringing upon D1? Moreover, even in the case of certain authorized chains of works such as musical “covers” produced under a compulsory license, does the creator of the first derivative work D1 have any legal recourse against further authorized derivative work creators who base their work on the first derivative work?

This phenomenon is demonstrated through examples based in contemporary urban art (Keith Haring and Banksy) and cover songs created through compulsory licenses (Sir Mix-A-Lot, Glee, and Jonathan Coulton).