Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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1509.3 (D) Architectural Works


1509.3 (D) Architectural Works


This Section discusses the deposit requirements for published or unpublished architectural works.


An “architectural work” is “the design of a building as embodied in any tangible medium of expression, including a building, architectural plans, or drawings. The work includes the overall form as well as the arrangement and composition of spaces and elements in the design, but does not include individual standard features.” 17 U.S.C. § 101. For information on the copyrightability and registrability of architectural works, see Chapter 900, Section 926.


In all cases, the applicant should submit one complete copy of an architectural drawing or blueprint in visually perceptible form showing the overall form of the building (i.e., drawings of the exterior elevations when viewed from the front, rear, sides, and top- down), and any interior arrangements of spaces and/or design elements in which copyright is claimed.


NOTE: The phrase “interior arrangements of spaces and/or design elements” refers to permanent, structural elements that define the arrangement of space within the interior of the building, rather than “interior design,” such as the selection and placement of furniture, lighting, paint, and similar items.


The drawings should include the following information (if known):


• The name(s) of the architect(s) and draftsperson(s), and


• The building site.


See 37 C.F.R. § 202.11 (C) (5) (I).


If the building has been constructed, the applicant also should submit photographs that clearly show the exterior and interior of the architectural work. See id.


The deposit may be submitted in any form that allows the U.S. Copyright Office to access, perceive, and examine the entire copyrightable content of the work being registered. The applicant may upload a digital copy of the work, provided that it is submitted in one of the file formats listed on the Office’s website. See id. § 202.11 (C) (5)(ii).


When uploading the deposit, the applicant should submit a separate file containing the name of the architect, draftsperson, or copyright owner if that information appears in a proprietary legend in the margins of the blueprints or drawings.


NOTE: Deposits that are uploaded to the electronic registration system will be considered solely for the purpose of registering the work with the Copyright Office, and will not satisfy the mandatory deposit requirements for architectural works that have been published in the United States. See id. For information concerning these requirements, see Section 1511.8(J).


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