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Distinguish From: 

n. ~ 1. Something that is nearly identical to something else; a facsimile; a reproduction. - 2. A duplicate made from an original. - 3. Text, especially a document that is to be set in type or used in a news story.

- v. ~ 4. To make a reproduction; to duplicate.


A copy1 can vary significantly in its fidelity to the original. In some instances, it may be sufficient for a copy to capture only the intellectual content of the record without regard to formatting (see fair copy). Or it may be an exacting facsimile of the original. Because there is always some loss of quality when making a copy, originals have greater authenticity than copies. Hence originals are preferred over copies for evidence (see best evidence). The value of the information is not increased by repetition. However, the presence of many copies of a record may serve as a check on the trustworthiness of a record; the presence of multiple, identical copies suggests that the record has not be altered.

Similarly, publication has been used as a means to preserve records by distributing copies among many owners and many locations to increase the odds that at least one copy will survive if others are lost or damaged. - Copy1, 2 and duplicate1 are often synonyms. However, 'copy' connotes a something reproduced from an original; for example, a Xerox copy. 'Duplicate' connotes a version that may be considered an original; for example, duplicate prints made from the same negative. - A copy1, 2 made with the intent to deceive is often described as a forgery or a counterfeit. A copy or similar work made by the creator of the original is often described as a replica or version.

(USC, 17 USC 101) '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 with the aid of a machine or device. The term 'copies' includes the material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first fixed.