>What's especially interesting about the copyright owner's right to restrict preparing derivative works is that you don't even have to distribute, perform, or make a copy. You need permission just to prepare it.
Nope. You can prepare derivative copies without owner's permission (in USA and Russia, can't speak for other countries).
For example, you can get a piece of Titanic, translate it into Klingon and use it in a classroom (fair use).
You can't automatically _redistribute_ the result, though.