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

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807.3 (C) Intrinsic Use of Machine or Device


807.3 (C) Intrinsic Use of Machine or Device


A key element of an audiovisual work is that the images must be “intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines or devices.” 17 U.S.C. § 101 (definition of “audiovisual works”). Such machines and devices include disc and video cassette players, electronic devices that play digital files, such as computers, tablets, and mobile phones, and machines with dedicated hardware, such as videogame consoles.


For example, a slide show or slide presentation qualifies as an audiovisual work, in part, because it requires a projector or computer to view the series of images as intended. By contrast, a series of photographs intended to be displayed together on a wall does not. See, e.g., Leadsinger, Inc. v. BMG Music Publishing., 512 F.3d 522, 528 (9th Cir. 2008) (concluding that a karaoke display is an audiovisual work because “the visual representation of successive portions of song lyrics” projected by the machine onto a television screen constitutes a series of related images and because a machine is required to display the lyrics on cue).


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