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Literary works

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U.S. copyright law Edit

Literary works are:

works, other than audiovisual works, expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as books, periodicals, manuscripts, phonorecords, film, tapes, disks, or cards, in which they are embodied.[1]

Overview Edit

"A literary work is a nondramatic work that explains, describes, or narrates a particular subject, theme, or idea through the use of narrative, descriptive, or explanatory text, rather than dialog or dramatic action. Generally, nondramatic literary works are intended to be read; they are not intended to be performed before an audience. Examples of nondramatic literary works include the following types of works: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, directories, catalogs, textbooks, reference works, advertising copy, compilations of information, computer programs, databases, and other textual works."[2]


  1. 17 U.S.C. §101.
  2. Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition, Glossary, at 11.

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