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Audiovisual works

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Definition Edit

U.S. copyright law Edit

Audiovisual works are:

works that consist of a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines, or devices such as projectors, viewers, or electronic equipment, together with accompanying sounds, if any, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as films or tapes, in which the works are embodied.[1]

Overview Edit

The House Report notes that the key to the subcategory motion pictures is the conveyance of the impression of motion, and that such an impression is not required to qualify as an "audiovisual work."[2]

"In other words, the term 'audiovisual works' refers broadly to any work that includes any series of related visual images, whether or not moving, and with or without sounds, as long as a machine or device is essential to the viewing of the related series of images."[3]

"Audiovisual works have unique characteristics because of their double nature. They are economic goods, offering important opportunities for the creation of wealth and employment. They are also cultural goods which at the same time mirror and shape our societies."[4]


  1. 17 U.S.C. §101.
  2. See H.R. Rep. 94-1476, at 56, reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5669.
  3. Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition, Glossary, at 2.
  4. The A to Z of Audiovisual and Media Policy (full-text)

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