Copyright in Architecture in The United States - Types of Architectural Works Protected By Copyright Law

Types of Architectural Works Protected By Copyright Law

Copyright protection can extend to general drawings and blueprints, preliminary plans, sections, elevations, floor plans, construction plans, rough models, models of internal support, models of external appearance, photomontages of the building against backdrops, computer-generated images of a design, and constructed buildings. The designs embodied in any of these types of works need not be capable of construction to be protected.

In order to obtain protection as an "architectural work" under 17 U.S.C. § 102(a)(8), as opposed to a "pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work" under 17 U.S.C. § 102(a)(5), the work must include a design of a building. "Buildings" are defined in the Copyright Office as "humanly habitable structures that are intended to be both permanent and stationary, such as houses and office buildings, and other permanent and stationary structures designed for human occupancy, including but not limited to churches, museums, gazebos, and garden pavilions". Specifically prohibited from protection are "structures other than buildings, such as bridges, cloverleafs, dams, walkways, tents, recreational vehicles, mobile homes, and boats".

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