Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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2203.2 Visually Perceptible Copies


2203.2 Visually Perceptible Copies


Prior to March 1, 1989, a notice was required for visually perceptible copies of a work published with the authority of the copyright owner. Copies are “material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or indirectly with the aid of a machine or device.” 17 U.S.C. § 101 (definition of “copies”).


A copy is considered visually perceptible if the work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression and if the work can be visually perceived, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Examples of works fixed in visually perceptible copies include books, sheet music, and photographs. By contrast, a literary, dramatic, or musical work fixed in a phonorecord is not considered a visually perceptible copy of that work.


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