Definition[edit | edit source]

Phonorecords are copies of sound recordings. Under Section 101 of the 1976 Copyright Act, phonorecords are defined as

material objects in which sounds, other than those accompanying a motion picture or other audiovisual work, are fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the sounds can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

The term phonorecords includes the material object in which the sounds are first fixed. Thus, examples of a phonorecord would include compact discs, vinyl albums, an audio tape or CD, or an MP3 file.

Overview[edit | edit source]

A phonorecord generally embodies two works — a musical work (or, in the case of spoken word recordings, a literary work) and a sound recording. Musical works available online may also be the subject of Musical Instrument Digital Interface ("MIDI") recordings.

Somewhat confusingly, the term "phonorecord" can also refer to the original object in which the copyrighted work was fixed, such as the original studio tapes for a sound recording.

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